NOAA’s GOES-S, the second in a new series of four highly advanced geostationary weather satellites, blasted into orbit at 5:02 p.m. EST today from Cape Canaveral, Florida. GOES-S mission managers confirmed that its solar arrays successfully deployed at 8:58 pm and the spacecraft was operating on its own power.
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.
“The Department of Commerce and NOAA are making good on our commitment to position the most sophisticated technology available in space to provide rapid, accurate, life-saving weather forecasts,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “Along with its easterly partner GOES-16, GOES-S will help communities and businesses prepare for potentially dangerous weather events and minimize the hazard to American families and economies.”
Once GOES-S is positioned in a geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above the Earth, after approximately two weeks, it will be renamed GOES-17. 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. From there, it will constantly provide advanced imagery and atmospheric measurements, real-time mapping of lightning activity, and improved monitoring of solar activity and space weather.
In addition to improving weather forecasts, GOES-17 will help forecasters locate and track wildfires – invaluable information that emergency response teams need to fight fires and evacuate people who find themselves in harm’s way. GOES-17 will also be an important tool for forecasters to track and predict the formation and dissipation of fog, which can disrupt airport operations.
“The advanced capabilities of this new satellite will provide vital data to improve forecasts for all weather hazards across the West and downstream across the remainder of the continental U.S.,” said retired Navy Rear Adm. Tim Gallaudet, Ph.D., USN Ret., Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere.
GOES-17 will work in tandem with GOES-16, the first satellite in NOAA’s new geostationary series, now at the GOES-East position. GOES-17 will extend observational high-resolution satellite coverage, utilizing the revolutionary new technology aboard GOES-16 to most of the Western Hemisphere, from the west coast of Africa to New Zealand, and from near the Arctic Circle to near the Antarctic Circle. The satellite will provide more and better data than currently available over the northeastern Pacific Ocean, the birthplace of many weather systems that affect the continental United States.