The western United States is about to get a sophisticated new weather satellite

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It’s the turn of the West to have its own “eye in the sky”.

The United States’ newest weather satellite – scheduled to launch on a rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Thursday – will closely monitor storms in the western United States once it is fully operational more late this year.

It’s “the most sophisticated weather forecasting technology ever used in space,” said Ajay Mehta of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the federal agency that oversees the satellite program.

Known as GOES-S, it is the second member of a new generation of weather satellites, and will join its twin GOES-16 (aka GOES-East) which currently hovers above the eastern United States. United. GOES stands for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, which means the satellite hovers above a point on Earth, moving with the rotation of the planet about 22,000 miles above the surface.

Both satellites were built by Lockheed Martin.

The new satellite will be renamed GOES-17 (aka GOES-West) when it reaches orbit. Once the satellite is fully operational later this year, it will fly over the western United States and provide faster, more accurate data to track wildfires, tropical cyclones, fog and other systems. of storms and the dangers that threaten the western United States, including Hawaii and Alaska. , said NASA.

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The new satellite “will provide additional information and unparalleled accuracy about severe weather systems and wildfires in the western United States,” said Wilbur Ross, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, who oversees NOAA.

Over the past year, GOES-16 has returned incredible images of powerful hurricanes, major blizzards and severe thunderstorm outbreaks like never before from a weather satellite, said AccuWeather.

The two new satellites will monitor nearly all of the Western Hemisphere.

National Weather Service director Louis Uccellini said he was “blown away” by GOES-16’s impacts on weather forecasting.

Of the six instruments aboard the satellite, two will focus on Earth’s weather: “Advanced Baseline Imager” is a fancy name for the camera that will return extremely detailed weather images and can monitor the entire hemisphere west in just five minutes.

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Built by Harris Corp., the ABI has three times more channels and four times better resolution than previous weather imagers. Updates come to meteorologists as quickly as every 30 seconds, improving every aspect of severe weather forecasting.

Built by Harris, the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) is the primary instrument aboard the GOES-R series of environmental satellites.

The information collected by this instrument will compromise more than 65% of all data collected by the satellite.

The other weather instrument, known as the “Geostationary Lightning Mapper” and built by Lockheed Martin, will monitor all lightning strikes over North America and neighboring oceans.

The other four instruments will keep tabs on space weather and radiation hazards from the sun, such as solar flares, which can wreak havoc with satellites, air traffic and power grids here on Earth.

Together with the Japanese satellites, the two new GOES satellites will monitor nearly all of the Western Hemisphere, from the West Coast of Africa to New Zealand.

GOES-16 and GOES-S will be joined in orbit by two additional satellites in 2020 and 2024, backups each designed to be operational for at least 10 years, AccuWeather said.

The total cost of the four satellites, from the original design in the 2000s until the end of their mission in the 2030s, will be around $10 billion, according to Tim Marsh, acting director of the GOES-system program. R to NOAA.

The Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron expects 80 percent “one-way” conditions at Cape Canaveral during a two-hour window that opens at 5:02 p.m. Thursday, Florida today noted.

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