A powerful new weather satellite launched into orbit on Saturday promises to revolutionize forecasting and possibly save lives.
Launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, the GOES-R will track hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms and even solar flares. The centerpiece of an $11 billion effort to upgrade the country’s aging weather forecasting system, the satellite features six state-of-the-art instruments, including a powerful camera that will provide high-resolution images in near real-time.
“NOAA’s GOES-R satellite, with its advanced technologies, will be a game-changer for weather forecasting and climate science for many years to come,” said Stephen Volz, Associate Administrator of Satellite and Information Services. to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. CBS News.
“This new four-satellite GOES series is truly a leap forward from any satellite NOAA has ever flown,” he said. “Without a doubt, GOES-R will revolutionize weather forecasting as we know it.”
NBC meteorologist Al Roker, one of 50 television meteorologists to witness the launch, agreed with Volz.
“What’s so exciting is that we’re going to get more data, more often, a lot more detailed, higher resolution,” Roker said at launch, reports Space.com. The meteorologist further notes that in the event of tornadoes or hurricanes, “if we can give people an extra 10, 15, 20 minutes, we’re talking about saved lives.”
The GOES, which stands for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, will be stationed in geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above the equator, allowing it to continuously observe the entire Western Hemisphere.