Military Embedded Systems

Weather satellite's Solar Ultraviolet Imager payload delivered by Lockheed Martin


April 22, 2014

John McHale

Editorial Director

Military Embedded Systems

PALO ALTO, CA. Lockheed Martin engineers deployed a new solar analysis payload for scientists to measure and forecast space weather, which can seriously damage satellites, electrical grids, and communications systems back on Earth. Dubbed the Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI) instrument, the payload was integrated with the first flight vehicle for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) next-generation Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, better known as GOES-R.

SUVI will deliver the required solar observational capabilities that allow NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colo., to monitor solar activity and to issue accurate, real-time alerts whenever space weather may affect the performance and reliability of technological systems in space or back on the ground via the enhanced detection of coronal holes, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections, as well as improved geomagnetic storm and power blackout forecasts.

Space weather is known to disrupt communications, satellite operations, navigation, and the distribution of electricity through power grids. Timely forecasts of extreme space weather events might help satellite operators and electrical grid technicians avoid or mitigate potential damage to these systems.

Lockheed Martin in Denver is under contract to build the first four next-generation GOES satellites (R, S, T, and U). Four of the six instruments for the GOES-R satellite have already been delivered to the Denver facility and are now being integrated with the spacecraft. Once the instrument complement integration is completed, a full suite of environmental tests will then be conducted. Launch of the GOES-R satellite is scheduled for the first quarter of 2016. Operational since 1975, the GOES program is operated by NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service.


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