S Satellite expected to launch today: Improvements in weather observations to come

GOES-17 will work in tandem with GOES-16, the first satellite in NOAA's new geostationary series, now at the GOES-East position.

"The new satellite will augment observations over the Pacific Ocean and around mountain ranges where radar coverage is limited or blocked", said Joe Pica, a National Weather Service manager. Meteorologists at the Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral are forecasting an 80% chance of good weather during the time of the Atlas V's launch window. NASA also oversees the acquisition of the spacecraft, instruments and launch vehicles. These two satellites will together offer the most comprehensive picture for satellite monitoring over the United States in history. GOES 17 will extend observational high-resolution satellite coverage of 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.

A United Launch Alliance rocket carried a Colorado-built satellite into orbit Thursday that's created to provide US weather forecasters unprecedented detail about severe weather formation and make improve air travel safety by tracking in-cloud lightning. When GOES-S becomes operational, its name will become GOES-17, according to NOAA's naming practices, Wired reported. This ability has already been demonstrated by the first GOES satellite with wildfires in the Plains previous year. Rockets by United Launch Alliance, a venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing, carried all those GOES.

GOES-S will be renamed GOES-17 after tests and checkout.

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Volz also hailed GOES-16's imagery as "really visceral" at an earlier news conference.

"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. During Hurricane Harvey, for instance, data from the satellite allowed first responders to know when it was safe to go out as the storm's eye passed overhead, rescuing more than 200 people - and when to take shelter just before the back of the eyewall swept back over.

The satellite also alerted authorities in Texas and Oklahoma to the eruption of new blazes even before the 911 calls came in, Uccellini said.

And that translates into lives saved.


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