A new weather satellite, slated for launch today (March 1), will help track wildfires, cyclones, fog and storms threatening the western United States, as well as give researchers a view of this region in unprecedented detail.
The eagle-eyed satellite, launched as part of a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA, will lift off on United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The 2-hour launch window opens at 5:02 p.m. EST (22:02 GMT) and you can watch the launch live here on Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV.
GOES-S (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-S), which will be renamed GOES-West once in final orbit, will partner with GOES-East to provide a comprehensive picture of the weather in the United States. It will be the second high-tech satellite to be launched in the GOES-R series of satellites; the first launched in 2016. [Earth from Space: The Amazing Photos by the GOES-16 Satellite]
“GO-S [is] the second in a new series of game-changing geostationary weather satellites,” said Tim Walsh, acting system program manager for the GOES-R satellite program at NOAA, during a press conference on Tuesday, February 27. “Its coverage will include North America, Central America and as far as New Zealand in the Pacific. [The satellite] will provide high-resolution imagery of Alaska and surrounding high-latitude areas previously unavailable or unusable from NOAA’s geostationary constellation.”
“When launched on March 1 and becoming operational later this year, GOES-S will help us see the West in true high definition and, together with the remaining satellites in the series, will extend the life of the weather constellation. NOAA geostationary until 2036,” he added.
According to the 45th Weather Squadron at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base, there is an 80% chance of favorable weather. In case of a launch delay, there is a save window at the same time tomorrow (March 2), which also has an 80% chance of favorable weather.
GOES-S’ sister satellite, GOES-East (formerly known as GOES-16 and GOES-R), has already provided critical data during numerous extreme weather events over the past year, officials said. NASA and NOAA officials at the press conference.
“GOES-16, even beyond the spectacular imagery we’ve had, is already proving to be a game-changer, with much more refined and higher quality data for faster and more accurate weather warnings and alerts”, Steve Volz, director of NOAA. for satellite and information services, said at the press conference. “This means, quite frankly, that more lives are saved and better environmental information is made available to national and local authorities, who, for example, may need to make decisions about when to call for evacuations in the event of potentially deadly storms or wildfires.”
GOES-S is set to expand that range, providing NOAA with powerful weather data over even more regions of the globe to track weather as it develops.