Landmark GOES-R weather satellite launch delayed again

The launch of the ground-breaking weather satellite GOES-R was scheduled to take off Nov. 16 from Cape Canaveral, but has been delayed a second time.

An earlier launch, which was scheduled for Nov. 4, was pushed back after Hurricane Matthew damaged launch facilities.

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NOAA's new GOES-R weather satellite has faced multiple launch delays.

NOAA’s new GOES-R weather satellite has faced multiple launch delays.

The most recent delay seems to be because of a problem with United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket booster.

GOES-R is traveling on ULA’s 191-foot-tall Atlas V rocket. An issue with the booster was discovered during final preparations for another launch that was also postponed.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sent out a statement saying the GOES-R will launch no earlier than Nov. 19.

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“The postponement was caused by the same minor Atlas V booster issue discovered on ULA’s WorldView-4 mission scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base,” a NOAA statement read. “The team is actively working towards a resolution.”

NOAA touts GOES-R as a revolutionary advance in weather forecasting that will significantly improve predicting extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and tornadoes.

NOAA has not sent a new weather satellite to space in nearly seven years.

“The satellites up now have a lifespan and they are reaching the end of that lifespan,” said Kevin Cooley, director of the office of planning and programming for service delivery at the National Weather Service. “This will be like going from black and white TV to big screen high-resolution.”

GOES stands for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, and the GOES-R is the latest in a series of GOES satellites that were first launched in 1975. A budget of $10.3 billion includes the entire development and lifespan operation of GOES-R and three other satellites through 2036.

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