Lockheed Martin C-5M Super Galaxy delivers advanced weather satellite in preparation for launch

Satellite being loaded onto a C-5M aircraftLoading of satellite at Buckley Space Force Base in Colorado (photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed Martin announced in a press release that the next-generation Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-T arrived on Wednesday, November 10, at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, to begin launch preparations.

The satellite was built by Lockheed Martin, and the C-5M Super Galaxy delivering it was built in Lockheed Martin’s Marietta facility.

According to the press release:

It is the third of four satellites in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s GOES-R weather satellite series built by Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] in Littleton, Colorado.”

GOES-T will help NOAA provide forecasters in the U.S. and western hemisphere with sharper, more defined images of severe storms, hurricanes, wildfires and other weather hazards.

“The technology and instruments we’ve developed for the GOES-R series enable GOES-T to observe Earth and space weather faster and more accurately than ever,” said Lockheed Martin GOES-R chief engineer, Jagdeep Shergill. “Lockheed Martin has built more than 100 weather and environmental observation spacecraft throughout our history, and we couldn’t be more excited to add GOES-T to that lineup as we use continue to evolve the technology toward the future with each system we build.”

The reason the C-5M made the delivery

Lockheed Martin gave this explanation of why the C-5M Super Galaxy was used in the transport of the satellite:

Given that GOES-T is the size of a small school bus, it needed a spacious ride to Florida. For this, the team looked no further than the Lockheed Martin-built C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft.

To protect GOES-T’s sensitive, state-of-the-art instruments, the Lockheed Martin team enclosed the spacecraft in a shipping container that functioned as its own miniature cleanroom environment.

That container was then transported from the company’s Littleton facility to Buckley Space Force Base in Aurora, Colorado, where it was carefully loaded onto the C-5 for transit to Florida.

Lockheed Martin and Cobb County

The Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta has been a major employer in Cobb County since 1951, when the Lockheed Corporation, a predecessor of Lockheed Martin, took over the former site of the WWII Bell Bomber plant.

In response to a request by the Courier for a previous article, the spokesperson for the Marietta operations of the company wrote:

The C-130 remains the largest program at the Marietta site. We are currently building the C-130J Super Hercules and I’ve attached our updated Fast Facts for insights on that program. We’ve produced every production model C-130 at the Marietta site, which means Hercs have been rolling out of Marietta for almost 66 years. It’s staple here in Cobb County! You can learn more about the C-130J in our brochure located here.

We also provide support (i.e., sustainment) for the C-5 Galaxy, which wrapped up a major modification providing 52 C-5s with new engines and avionics, in 2018. We celebrated the C-5’s 50th anniversary in 2018 and expect to see that aircraft in service – thanks to its upgrades and unique hauling capabilities – until 2045. See press release for more information. We also support the P-3 Orion through Marietta-based teams. Additionally, we manufacture F-35 center wings here in Marietta.