It's meant to boost cooperation between NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in forecasting, monitoring and responding to extreme weather events in the United States. These satellites will continue to deliver dazzling weather data that has captivated forecasters such as first-of-its-kind lightning mapping and high-definition views of weather systems.
Harris, which designed and built imagers for previous generations of weather spacecraft, was selected to provide the modern ABI now installed on the satellite that will eventually expand to 20 feet long after solar array deployment.
As of this story's initial publication, the rocket was slated to release GOES-S around 6:40 pm MT en route to geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above the earth.
A third weather-monitoring satellite, JPSS-1, was launched on November 18, 2017 and now sits above the Arctic Circle.
It's the third weather tracker launched by NASA in just over a year: "three brilliant eyes in the sky", as NOAA puts it. GOES-16 also observed the uncertain path of Hurricanes Irma and the rapidly intensifying Hurricane Maria in September. 'It allows the researchers to see the dynamics in a way that just looking at numbers just doesn't reveal - the visual impact is remarkable'.
United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket will launch the instrument from Space Launch Complex 41 - which first roared to life in December of 1965 for the launch of a Titan IIIC rocket for the U.S. Air Force. Later this year, after undergoing a full checkout and validation of its six high-tech instruments, the new satellite will move to the GOES-West position and become operational.
GOES-17 and its predecessor GOES-16, launched in November 2016, will work together to monitor a region spanning from the western coast of Africa to the eastern shore of New Zealand. GOES-S will be designated GOES-17 upon reaching geostationary orbit.
The combined target areas mean the two next-generation spacecraft have a almost complete view of the Western Hemisphere with modern tools that capture high-definition images several times faster than legacy weather satellites. This is the 18th launch of a GOES since 1975; one was lost in an explosion during liftoff and all but three of the satellites already up there are retired.
"Those of us in the severe weather community are really excited about the data we're seeing from GOES-16 [GOES-East]", Kristin Calhoun, a research scientist with NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory, said during the conference.
Two additional satellites, GOES-T and GOES-U, are also planned to be launched in 2020 and 2024, respectively. The $10.8 billion cost includes the development, launch and operation of all four satellites as well as ground systems through 2036.
'Twas the night before launch! "And NOAA's satellite data provides the backbone for the global observing system, and is the critical element for weather forecasting in the extended ranges".
NASA officials say the launch window for the Atlas V rocket that will be carrying the GOES weather satellite into space opens at 5:02 p.m., and that's when they expect to launch.
NOAA funds, manages and plans to operate the GOES-R Series satellites.
The satellite will provide faster, more accurate, and more detailed data in near real-time to track storm systems, lightning, wildfires, coastal fog, and other hazards that affect the western U.S., Hawaii and Alaska.