A new next-generation weather satellite was successfully delivered into its proper orbit over Earth on Thursday, March 1, flying atop an Atlas 5 rocket that launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Liftoff of the United Launch Alliance booster was right on time at 5:02 p.m. EST.
It took the two-stage rocket, which was lofted with the help of four solid rocket boosters, three-and-a-half hours to get the GOES-S weather satellite injected into an orbit that will eventually settle in at about 22,300 miles above the equator.
Once fully operational, the GOES-S satellite will be known as GOES-17. Its primary job will be to monitor weather for the western part of the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. It's twin spacecraft, GOES-16, which looks down on the easteran U.S., was launched in 2016.
As an agent for NOAA, NASA managed the construction of GOES-S and procured launch services from ULA.
The next launch from the Eastern Range will be a Falcon 9 carrying a Spanish communications satellite. SpaceX planned to launch last weekend, but delayed the flight to take some extra time to ensure the rocket's nose cone was in good shape for the shot.
As a result, SpaceX had to wait for this Atlas 5 mission to fly before it could take its turn on the range. That mission is now targeted to liftoff at 12:33 a.m. EST Tuesday morning, as in late "Monday" night.
The Falcon 9 first stage will not return for a landing at Cape Canaveral, but will instead attempt a touchdown on SpaceX's drone barge "Of Course I Still Love You."