GOES-U, the fourth and final satellite in NOAA’s GOES-R Series of advanced geostationary satellites, has now completed environmental testing ahead of its launch into space.
The environmental testing program, which spanned nearly a year, concluded with the electromagnetic interference and electromagnetic compatibility (EMI/EMC) testing, conducted in August 2023. EMI/EMC testing ensures that spacecraft functions are not affected by various types of electromagnetic radiation during operations.
GOES-U completed shock testing in March 2023, which confirmed the satellite will be able to withstand the shocks encountered during separation from the launch vehicle and deployment of the satellite’s solar panels.
In February 2023, GOES-U completed vibration testing, which mimics the stresses it will experience during launch to ensure the satellite doesn’t have structural weaknesses. GOES-U then endured the extremely high sound pressure of 138.4dB from high-intensity horns during acoustic testing. This testing simulated the noises GOES-U will be subjected to when it is launched.
During thermal vacuum testing, completed in November 2022, GOES-U was placed in a large 29ft wide by 65ft deep (9m by 20m) chamber and subjected to a vast range of temperatures, soaring as high as 188°F (87°C) and dropping as low as -67°F (-55°C) to simulate the extreme temperatures of launch and the space environment.
The GOES-U team has also conducted a solar array deployment test, which verified that the satellite’s large, five-panel solar array — which is folded up when the satellite is launched — will properly deploy when GOES-U reaches geostationary orbit.