NASA to launch a new weather satellite for the West

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In just a few weeks, the western United States will receive a new satellite using the latest weather technology that can see things that have never been seen before.

On March 1, NASA will launch the country’s newest weather satellite “GOES West”.

GOES stands for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite. The West will be its primary responsibility, monitoring the western US states for developing storms, wildfires, and even picking up distress calls.

The first satellite, known as GOES East, was launched in 2016 and spent much of the year circling over the United States and other locations, testing new technologies on board, providing spectacular images of the earth and effectively creating a satellite for the high definition era.

Like GOES East, GOES West will have other names. If you mean GOES 17 or GOES S, we’re talking about the same spacecraft as it changes from its ground letter designation to its launch designation once it takes to space in a stable geosynchronous orbit.

Goes West has plenty of tools on board.

ABI, the Advanced Baseline Imager that provides many of those spectacular images of boiling storm clouds, hurricanes, and even wildfires. It can see 16 channels of light, two of which are visible to the human eye, but 14 which are not known as infrared. But this infrared visibility can see a lot, including water vapor at multiple altitudes, which wasn’t available before. This could give meteorologists data they currently don’t have to make forecasts.

GLM is the Geostationary Lightning Mapper. Every second it can take hundreds of lighting pictures. It is the first time that a satellite in a fixed orbit has been able to observe the illumination, which is considered an indicator of the development of a storm. And for the first time, Lockheed Martin, which builds GOES for NASA and NOAA, says lighting can be seen in a hurricane’s eyewall, as we’ve seen in several devastating hurricanes over the past year. ‘summer.

While the instruments listed above look to the earth, others look to space. Space weather can damage our communications and power grid as solar storms release X-rays and other particles to Earth.

SUVI is the Solar Ultraviolet Imager, which keeps a complete view of the Sun’s ultraviolet light

EXIS can detect solar flares that impact our magnetic field and the upper atmosphere.

MAG is a magnetometer capable of detecting sudden magnetic storms.

SEISS is the In-Situ Space Environment Suite. It has sensors that monitor charged particles of space to assess risk.

The satellites are assembled by Lockheed Martin in Littleton, Colorado. One note: the small thrusters that help position the satellites are made by Aerojet Rocketdyne in Redmond, Washington.

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