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Atlas launches weather satellite
Posted: Mon, Jul 23, 2001, 10:39 AM ET (1439 GMT)
GOES-M illustration (NASA) An Atlas 2A booster successfully launched a weather satellite early Monday. The Atlas 2A lifted off at 3:23 am EDT (0723 GMT) Monday from Pad 36A at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The Atlas placed the GOES-M weather satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit about a half-hour after launch. The launch was scheduled for early Sunday but was delayed 24 hours to allow crews time to inspect the vehicle after lightning struck a neighboring pad Saturday evening; no damage to the launch vehicle was found. Monday's launch took place about 20 minutes into an 83-minute launch window, delayed by minor problems with a tracking radar and a boat that wandered into restricted waters. The spacecraft is the fifth and final spacecraft in the current Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) series built by Space Systems/Loral and will serve as an on-orbit backup for existing weather satellites. The spacecraft will monitor terrestrial weather from geosynchronous orbit while also keeping an eye on space weather with an x-ray imaging instrument that will be trained on the Sun. The launch was just the second of the year for the Atlas 2 family of boosters, after the Atlas 2AS launch of an ICO communications satellite last month.
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