Excitement is building on the Florida Space Coast ahead of another significant rocket launch; this time, United Launch Alliance is lifting the brand new GOES-S weather satellite into space. The GOES-S is an exact copy of the GOES-R weather satellite that launched into space in the fall of 2016. That satellite became operational late 2017, but even before becoming operational, provided stunning imagery and data to aid forecasters in the busy 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season. The GOES-R lifted up and became GOES-16; it then shifted to become GOES-EAST. When GOES-S lifts up, it’ll be numbered GOES-17. When operational, GOES-17 will become GOES-West, joining forces with GOES-East to provide unprecedented coverage of the United States and surrounding ocean.
“The GOES-S satellite will join GOES-16 and NOAA-20 as NOAA continues to upgrade its satellite fleet,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The latest GOES addition will provide further insight and unrivaled accuracy into severe weather systems and wildfires in the western United States.”
In tandem with GOES-16, the first satellite in NOAA’s new geostationary series and now in the GOES-East position, the two satellites will observe most of the Western Hemisphere, from the west coast of Africa to New Zealand. This includes the northeastern Pacific, the birthplace of many weather systems that affect the continental U.S., and where there is comparatively little data.
And like GOES-R, GOES-S will scan the Earth five times faster at four times the image resolution, with triple the number of channels than previous GOES for more accurate, reliable forecasts and severe weather outlooks.
“We expect GOES-S to be the perfect partner to its sister satellite, GOES-16, whose early returns have surpassed our expectations,” said RDML Tim Gallaudet, Ph.D., USN Ret., Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere. “The revolutionary technology on these satellites, coupled with the skill of NOAA forecasters, will lead ultimately to more lives saved.”
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket will carry the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite for National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Station on Thursday, March 1 at 5:02pm ET. The rocket has a two hour possible launch window that expires at 7:02pm ET. The rocket will fly in the 541 vehicle configuration with a five-meter fairing, four solid rocket boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper stage.