Lockheed Martin Solar X-ray Imager to be launched on NOAA GOES-P spacecraft today

PALO ALTO, Calif., 2 March 2010. The Solar X-ray Imager (SXI) instrument, designed and built by Lockheed Martin at its Space Systems Advanced Technology Center, is ready for flight. Built for the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, SXI is to launch on the NOAA GOES-P spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. SXI is one of a suite of instruments that resides on the current generation of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites.

Mar 2nd, 2010

Posted by Courtney Howard

PALO ALTO, Calif., 2 March 2010. The Solar X-ray Imager (SXI) instrument, designed and built by Lockheed Martin at its Space Systems Advanced Technology Center (ATC), is ready for flight.

Built for the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, Md., SXI is awaiting launch--scheduled for today, March 2--on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) GOES-P spacecraft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. SXI is one of a suite of instruments that resides on the current generation of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES).

"It is enormously satisfying to have our third SXI instrument ready for launch and we look forward to seeing it operating on-orbit," says George Koerner, SXI program manager at the ATC. "While the other GOES instruments provide near-constant viewing of the Earth, SXI is designed to view the Sun and provide vital information regarding solar activity."

The SXI will be used to aid NOAA and U.S. Air Force personnel in issuing forecasts and alerts of space weather conditions, and in developing a better understanding of Sun-related phenomena that affect the Earth's environment. Turbulent space weather can affect radio communication on Earth, induce currents in electric power grids and long distance pipelines, cause navigational errors in magnetic guidance systems, upset satellite circuitry, and expose astronauts to increased radiation.

NOAA's environmental satellite system is composed of two types of satellites: Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) for national, regional, short-range warning and "now-casting;" and Polar Operational Environmental Satellites (POES) for global, long-term forecasting and environmental monitoring.

Both GOES and POES are necessary for providing a complete global weather monitoring system. Both also carry search and rescue instruments to relay signals from people in distress.

The ATC is the research and development organization of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company (LMSSC).

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