New GOES Satellite Will Provide Better, Faster Data To Forecasters
July 16, 2013

New GOES Satellite Will Provide Better, Faster Data To Forecasters

Lee Rannals for - Your Universe Online

The next generation of GOES satellites will have the ability to take full-disk images of Earth at five-minute intervals.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) GOES-R satellite will be able to snap images of everything it can see in the same length of time it takes the current Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) series to capture a small image of a stormy region. NASA says this upgrade will help provide more timely and informative data to forecasters everywhere in the Western Hemisphere.

Full-disk images are pictures of one side of Earth from space, capturing the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii, Polynesia and the south of Antarctica all in one shot. The GOES-East and GOES-West satellites are not able to take these full-disk images every five minutes. These satellites are able to scan Earth every 30 minutes, the US every 15 minutes, or a stormy region every five minutes, but not at the same time.

NASA says the addition to take full-disk images every five minutes will enable simultaneous rapid regional coverage and continuous hemispheric weather monitoring.

"When GOES-13 experienced a disruption of service as GOES-East late on May 21, NOAA initiated back-up full-disk scans from GOES-15," said Dennis Chesters, project scientist of NASA's GOES Project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. "The full-disk scans from GOES-West were used to observe weather as far east as the Atlantic seaboard, while NOAA activated the spare satellite, GOES-14."

The space agency said that while GOES-14 was being activated, the GOES project used continuous full-disk imaging from GOES-West to create a simulation of what GOES-R would be able to do on a daily basis. The simulation shows a low-speed example of the global weather monitoring that will be available with the upcoming GOES addition.

GOES-R will make it easier to observe thunderstorm development with far greater detail than ever before, helping to provide an earlier warning system. The new satellite will increase tornado warning time and detect lightning like never before. It will also be able to detect developing tornadoes at night, giving much needed warning to residents.

Engineers are working on integrated GOES-R fuel tanks, lines, thermal controls and other systems within the core structure to get it ready for launch, which is scheduled for 2015.

The GOES-R series will maintain the 2-satellite system implemented by the current GOES series. The operational lifetime of the satellites will extend through December 2027.