A new weather satellite should cover the North West


SPOKANE, Wash. – The newest next-generation weather satellite is on track to deliver important weather information to the western United States. The GOES T satellite, which will be called GOES 18 once in position, was launched on Tuesday from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Source: NOAA

This is the third GOES R series satellite launched since 2017. The GOES R series is capable of sending data every 5 minutes to every 30 seconds. Old weather satellites could only send data every 15 to 30 minutes.

These satellites monitor a multitude of things including forest fires, vegetation, ocean temperatures, clouds and fog, atmospheric water vapor, lightning, space weather, volcanic eruptions, snow cover, pollution, hurricanes and more. Much of this data is sent to supercomputers that help create weather forecasts in the Interior Northwest and around the world.

Go West See CIRA

The view of the earth from the geostationary orbit of GOES 17. Source: CIRA/Colorado State University

GOES 18 will replace GOES 17 which covers the Pacific Ocean and the western United States. When launched in 2017, GOES 17 suffered from issues almost immediately. A blockage in the cooling system would cause the main instrument to overheat in certain orbits at certain times of the year. Sometimes this would impact the satellite for two to six hours overnight. Despite these issues, Miranda Solveig Cote’, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Spokane, says 97% of GOES 17 data is still clean.

That said, GOES 18 is expected to be an upgrade once testing is complete and become fully operational in early 2023. In the meantime, the two satellites will work together during the months when the overheating issue hurts GOES 17 the most. GOES 17 will become emergency relief when GOES 18 takes over entirely.

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