Powerful Next-Gen Weather Satellite Launches to Begin Forecasting ‘Revolution’ – Space.com

 In Science

A powerful new satellite that will give forecasters their best-ever looks at storms and other severe weather has taken to the skies.

The GOES-16 weather satellite lifted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station today (Nov. 19) at 6:42 p.m. EST (2342 GMT), riding a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket to orbit. The spectacular launch, which lit up the Florida evening sky, occurred about one hour later than planned due to issues with the rocket and launch range that were swiftly resolved.

GOES-16 is the first of four new advanced weather satellites that are collectively known as GOES-R. (Confusingly, GOES-16 itself was known as GOES-R before launch.) The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which manages the GOES-R program, is expecting big things from all four of these spacecraft. [See more GOES-R launch and mission photos]

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launches the advanced new GOES-R weather satellite into orbit from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on Nov. 19, 2016.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launches the advanced new GOES-R weather satellite into orbit from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on Nov. 19, 2016.

Credit: United Launch Alliance

“Without a doubt, GOES-R will revolutionize weather forecasting as we know it,” Stephen Volz, assistant administrator for NOAA’s Satellite and Information Services division, said during a pre-launch news conference on Thursday (Nov. 17).

“For weather forecasters, GOES-R will be similar to going from a black-and-white TV to super-high-definition TV,” Volz added. “For the American public, that will mean faster, more accurate weather forecasts and warnings. That also will mean more lives saved and better environmental intelligence for state and local officials and all decision makers.”

The GOES-R satellite streaks into space aboard an Atlas V rocket in this long-exposure view of its successful launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Nov. 19, 2016.
The GOES-R satellite streaks into space aboard an Atlas V rocket in this long-exposure view of its successful launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Nov. 19, 2016.

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