March 12, 2018
On March 1, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) successfully launched GOES-S, the second in a new series of four highly advanced geostationary weather satellites. GOES-S was renamed GOES-17 on March 12 upon reaching its geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above the Earth. After all of the instruments and systems are checked out, GOES-17 will drift to its operational position at NOAA’s western geostationary location in late 2018.
Working in tandem with the GOES-16 satellite currently operating at the eastern geostationary position since December 2017, the GOES-17 satellite will provide faster, more accurate, and more detailed data for detecting and tracking tropical cyclones, volcanic eruptions, fire hot spots, cloud and atmospheric moisture changes, lightning, flow dynamics of currents, and atmospheric smoke and dust that affect the western U.S., Hawaii, and Alaska. GOES-17 will help locate and track wildfires, providing invaluable information that emergency response teams need to fight fires and evacuate people. The six high-tech instruments on GOES-17 will also provide continuous monitoring at a fixed angle of the western hemisphere, from the west coast of Africa to New Zealand, and from near the Arctic Circle to near the Antarctic Circle. The satellite will deliver much improved satellite data over the northeastern Pacific Ocean, where many weather systems that affect the continental United States develop.
Sources: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration