From The Editors Science

State of the Art Weather Satellite – GEOS-R Launched

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R Series (GOES-R), the first in a series of four advanced satellites, was successfully launched from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 2342 GMT atop an unmanned United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

The NASA and NOAA collaboration is being managed by the NOAA team with an integrated NOAA-NASA program office organization. The satellite is designed and programmed to relay timely and accurate weather forecasts for the North American Continent, set to benefit forecasters by beaming pictures “like they’ve never seen before.”

An artist's impression of the NASA GOES-R weather satellite
An artist’s capture of the NASA GOES-R weather satellite

According to NOAA program director Greg Mandt, and in the process save lives, benefit airlines, weather forecasters and rocket launch teams. It is expected to inform accurately and well in time, weather forecasts and warnings of natural disasters including thunderstorms, tornadoes, fog, flash floods and other harsh weather conditions.

“Without a doubt, GOES-R will revolutionize weather forecasting as we know it,” Stephen Volz, assistant administrator for NOAA’s Satellite and Information Services division, said during a pre-launch news conference on Thursday.

Dozens of TV meteorologists had assembled at the launch site; Al Roker, host and weatherman on NBC’s “Today” show, in an interview with NASA TV had this to say, “What’s so exciting is that we’re going to be getting more data, more often, much more detailed, (in) higher resolution.”

“It gives us the opportunity to be able to give that information much more quickly to our viewers. And the more lead time there is, the better it is for people.” He went on to add. According to the GOES-R official website the instrument suites of the weather, satellite includes:

The Advanced Baseline Imager is the primary instrument on GOES-R for imaging Earth’s weather, oceans, and the environment. ABI will view the Earth with 16 different spectral bands (compared to five on current GOES), including two visible channels, four near-infrared channels, and ten infrared channels.

The Extreme Ultraviolet and X-ray Irradiance Sensors on the GOES-R series satellites are critical to understanding and monitoring solar irradiance in the upper atmosphere, that is, the power and effect of the sun’s electromagnetic radiation per unit of area.

The Geostationary Lightning Mapper is a single-channel, near-infrared optical transient detector that can detect the momentary changes in an optical scene, indicating the presence of lightning. GLM will measure total lightning (in-cloud, cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground) activity continuously over the Americas and adjacent ocean regions with a near-uniform spatial resolution of approximately 10 km.

The GOES-R Magnetometer will provide measurements of the space environment magnetic field that controls charged particle dynamics in the outer region of the magnetosphere. These particles can be dangerous to spacecraft and human spaceflight.”

The satellite’s aim is for a 35,888-kilometre-high equatorial orbit, to join three out of date spacecraft, and will be referred to as GOES-16 once it does.

The satellite will not start doing the weather forecasting before a year at least. ; it’s scheduled to begin operations after a lengthy checkout and validation phase.

The second satellite in the series is supposed to be launched in 2018. The GOES series is expected to stretch till 2036.

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