Skip to main content

See how NASA seals a large satellite inside a rocket fairing

A NOAA weather satellite being placed inside a rocket fairing ahead of launch.
The NOAA’s weather satellite being sealed inside the rocket fairing ahead of launch. NASA

New images from NASA show the rarely seen sight of a satellite being sealed inside the rocket fairing ahead of next month’s launch.

The fairing is a vital part of the rocket design, making the launch vehicle more aerodynamic while protecting the payload from the extreme forces experienced during the rapid ascent to space.

The series of four images (below) show the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-T (GOES-T) undergoing the final preparations ahead of its expected March 1 launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

(Click on the images to view the entirety of each one)

✅ Encapsulation

The #GOEST satellite is now encapsulated in the payload fairings that will protect it during launch aboard a @ULALaunch #AtlasV. Keep up with key milestones as we get #ReadyToGOES:

— NASA's Launch Services Program (@NASA_LSP) February 15, 2022

The 6,000-pound GOES-T weather satellite, built by Lockheed Martin, was placed inside the fairing at the Astrotech Space Operations facility in Titusville, Florida, about 10 miles from the launch site.

The fairing, together with the satellite safely secured inside, will be placed atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket on Thursday. Then, on February 28, the entire vehicle will be rolled to the Cape Canaveral launch pad for lift-off the following day.

“Things are getting real now, GOES-T is fully assembled and ready for launch,” GOES-T mission manager Rex Engelhardt said in a post on NASA’s website. “Next week, we will be holding the final launch reviews and exercising the teams on their launch consoles in preparation for launch day.”

GOES-T is the third satellite in NOAA’s GOES-R series, with the network enabling meteorologists to monitor and forecast local weather events that affect public safety, including thunderstorms, tornadoes, fog, hurricanes, flash floods, and other severe weather,” according to NASA, with GOES-T set to offer critical data for the U.S. West Coast, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, Central America, and the Pacific Ocean. It will also detect and monitor environmental hazards such as wildfires and volcanic eruptions.

NASA is expected to livestream the launch of the GOES-T mission. Be sure to check back for more details on how to watch.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
How to watch tonight’s launch of NASA’s mega moon rocket
NASA's SLS rocket at the Kennedy Space Center.

NASA is aiming to launch its next-generation Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on a mission to the moon in just a few hours from now.

Artemis I Launch to the Moon (Official NASA Broadcast) - Nov. 16, 2022

Read more
NASA inspects SLS moon rocket following Hurricane Nicole
NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop a mobile launcher at Launch Complex 39B, Monday, April 4, 2022.

As the authorities in Florida begin to assess the wider damage wrought by Hurricane Nicole on Thursday, a team at the Kennedy Space Center is currently performing detailed inspections of NASA’s next-generation Space Launch System (SLS) moon rocket.

The 98-meter-tall SLS rocket, with the Orion spacecraft at its tip, remained on the launchpad as the extreme weather passed through, exposing the vehicle to gusts of up to 82 mph. The rocket arrived on the launchpad last weekend ahead of its maiden flight, which could take place on Wednesday.

Read more
NASA shifts launch date again for its mega moon rocket
NASA's SLS rocket on the launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

NASA’s Artemis I mission just can’t catch a break.

Following several delays earlier this year due to technical issues on the launchpad, and more disruption caused by Hurricane Ian that prompted NASA to roll its next-generation Space Launch System (SLS) rocket to shelter, the approaching Tropical Storm Nicole is now causing concern among mission planners.

Read more