NASA has successfully launched the first in a series of highly advanced geostationary weather satellites Saturday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The satellite was launched on behalf of or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R (GOES-R) lifted off at 6:42 p.m. EST Saturday on its way to boost the nation’s weather observation capabilities, leading to more accurate and timely forecasts, watches and warnings.
This photo provided by United Launch Alliance shows a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying GOES-R spacecraft for NASA and NOAA lifting off from Space Launch Complex-41 at 6:42 p.m. EST at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. The most advanced weather satellite ever built rocketed into space Saturday night, part of an $11 billion effort to revolutionize forecasting and save lives. (United Launch Alliance via AP)
Forecasters will use the lightning mapper to hone in on storms that represent the greatest threats. The satellite’s primary instrument, the Advanced Baseline Imager, will provide images of Earth’s weather, oceans and environment with 16 different spectral bands, including two visible channels, four near-infrared channels, and 10 infrared channels.
Improved space weather sensors on GOES-R will monitor the sun and relay crucial information to forecasters so they can issue space weather alerts and warnings. In all, data from GOES-R will result in 34 new or improved meteorological, solar and space weather products.
Beyond weather forecasting, GOES-R also will be part of the Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking (SARSAT) System, an international satellite-based search and rescue network operated by NOAA. The satellite is carrying a special transponder that can detect distress signals from emergency beacons.
There are four satellites in the GOES-R series: –R, –S, –T and –U, which will extend NOAA’s geostationary coverage through 2036.