Space

Satellite instrument ready early

Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites - NOAA

The GOES-R satellite is due to launch in 2015. (NOAA image)

The first of six instruments that will be equipped on the first satellite to launch in 2015 through the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R (GOES-R) program has been developed seven months ahead of schedule.

The instrument, Extreme Ultraviolet and X-ray Irradiance Sensors (EXIS), will signal forecasters on the ground with early warning information pertaining to solar storms, providing scientists a more accurate measure of solar energy radiating toward the earth that could potentially disrupt power grids and telecommunications.

EXIS was built and tested by the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, and it will be shipped across the state to nearby Littleton, Colo., where Lockheed will install it to the spacecraft.

"Severe space weather has the potential to cause significant damage to the U.S. and global economy, so it's critical GOES-R has this technology in place as quickly as possible to monitor it," said Mary Kicza, assistant administrator for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration's Satellite and Information Service.

It is unclear whether the early completion of EXIS will have any effect on the satellite's launch date, which NOAA insists is still on schedule for October 2015. The positive news is likely not enough to satisfy the Commerce Department IG's office, which claimed in its latest report that the satellite was not likely to get off the ground until February 2016.

That report was critical or two of the satellite's most integral systems, the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) and the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) which increased in cost a combined $350 million from initial NOAA estimates. ABI is of particular interest, however, because NOAA has stated publicly that it expects the ABI sensor to provide a net economic benefit of $4.6 billion through improved forecasting.

The remaining planed GOES-R instruments are:

• The Advanced Baseline Imager, the primary instrument on GOES-R for imaging Earth's weather, climate, and environment;

• Geostationary Lightning Mapper, which will provide for the first time a continuous surveillance of total lightning over the western hemisphere from space;

• The Space Environment In-Situ Suite, which consists of sensors that will monitor radiation hazards that can affect satellites and communications for commercial airline flights over the poles;

• The Solar Ultraviolet Imager, a high-powered telescope that observes the sun, monitoring for solar flares and other solar activity that could impact Earth, and

• The Magnetometer, which will provide measurements of the space environment magnetic field that controls charged particle dynamics in the outer region of the magnetosphere. These particles can be dangerous to spacecraft and human spaceflight.

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

Rising Stars

Meet 21 early-career leaders who are doing great things in federal IT.

Featured

  • SEC Chairman Jay Clayton

    SEC owns up to 2016 breach

    A key database of financial information was breached in 2016, possibly in support of insider trading, said the Securities and Exchange Commission.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DOD looks to get aggressive about cloud adoption

    Defense leaders and Congress are looking to encourage more aggressive cloud policies and prod reluctant agencies to embrace experimentation and risk-taking.

  • Shutterstock / Pictofigo

    The next big thing in IT procurement

    Steve Kelman talks to the agencies that have embraced tech demos in their acquisition efforts -- and urges others in government to give it a try.

  • broken lock

    DHS bans Kaspersky from federal systems

    The Department of Homeland Security banned the Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab’s products from federal agencies in a new binding operational directive.

  • man planning layoffs

    USDA looks to cut CIOs as part of reorg

    The Department of Agriculture is looking to cut down on the number of agency CIOs in the name of efficiency and better communication across mission areas.

  • What's next for agency cyber efforts?

    Ninety days after the Trump administration's executive order, FCW sat down with agency cyber leaders to discuss what’s changing.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group