The National Weather Service has a new, more advanced, satellite that will provide modeling and forecasting strength to help save property and lives throughout the Western Hemisphere. The data will be up to 5 times more advanced and detailed than present information coming from the existing GOES constellation.

Adding to the current constellations of satellites, GOES-13 (East) and GOES-15 (West) and others, the GOES-R (followed by S, T, and U) will improve imaging and accuracy by leaps and bounds. Included are new features such as lightning imaging and data collection. Weather satellite tools have been available through NASA/NOAA especially at the National Hurricane Center for some time now. The GOES 1, was launched in October 1975. Once the GOES-R, assembled by Lockheed Martin Denver, CO, reaches GEO and becomes operational, (approx. 1 year) it will be referred to as GOES-16. The AtlasV with payload launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Saturday, November 19th, 2016 at 6:42 PM EST, at the end of the one hour window.  This is ULA’s 10th launch in 2016 and the 113th successful launch.  The company was formed in 2006 from an alliance between Lockheed Martin and Boeing. GOES-R is now in orbit 22,300 miles above the earth! During the next year, the six instruments will go through checkout and validation!



The following satellite image of GOES-13 is updated every 30 minutes, GOES-R will update in seconds! Hobbyist and meteorologists use these images and loops for tracking tropical systems to help prepare others for a storm. An animated loop shows the movement, development, and direction and it’s an excellent tool to use.  Tropical Atlantic – Rainbow Loop. This image is of 2016 Hurricane Mathew that has developed in the Caribbean from a Category 2 – Category 5 storm in just over 24 hours. Also in this image is the development of a system (Disturbance 1) to be watched east of Hurricane Mathew. Many other image selections are available at NOAA.Gov.


National Hurricane Center Satellite Loop of Hurricane Mathew October 1st, 2016

This new generation satellite is going to be very helpful for storm prediction and forecasting right down to its core, including enhanced lightning and tornado imaging, modeling and forecasting. Hopefully, we will get some testing data and images during the 2017 Hurricane Season.


The satellite arrived at Kennedy Space Center aboard a C-5A military aircraft, unloaded and transported to an off-base processing facility for encapsulation and then transported to Space Launch Complex 41 for mating with the booster in the Vertical Integration Facility or VIF.


Satellite Off Load August 22, 2016, KSC


The diagram below shows the United Launch Alliance Atlas V booster with a 551 configuration. A large 5-meter payload fairing, 5 – AJ60 solid rockets boosters, with 1 RL-10 ‘Centaur’ upper stage motor. The GOES-R launch vehicle is configured as a 541, with four (4) solid rocket boosters (SRB).  The SRB’s are manufactured by Aerojet Rocketdyne and added to the booster at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The core booster is powered by one RD-180 Russian-built rocket motor.



Images from NASATV of the night launch at Space Launch Complex 41.

More details and current press release’s at GOES-R NOAA



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