Atlas V rocket scheduled to launch today

New weather satellite built in Colorado will launch on Thursday

The USA's newest weather satellite - scheduled for launch Thursday aboard a rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida - will keep a close watch over the storms in the western US once it becomes fully functional later this year. NASA assisted with the launch, but the satellite will be operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as part of a constellation that also includes GOES-R, now known as GOES-16.

NOAA will be launching a new weather satellite on Thursday that will change the way meteorologists track the weather in the United States.

The satellite will orbit about 22,300 miles above Earth and will benefit Hawaii, the Pacific Ocean and Alaska in detecting things like sea ice and inclement weather during cold, dark winter months.

"Those of us in the severe weather community are really excited about the data we're seeing from GOES-16 [GOES-East]", Kristin Calhoun, a research scientist with NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory, said during the conference. 'It allows the researchers to see the dynamics in a way that just looking at numbers just doesn't reveal - the visual impact is remarkable'.

Atlas V rocket carrying the GOES-S mission for NASA and NOAA lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 on March 1 at 5:02 p.m. EST.


An artist's rendering of the new GOES-S satellite in orbit around the earth. It will work in tandem with the GOES-R satellite that was successfully launched by an Atlas V rocket on November 19, 2016.

GOES 17 will work in tandem with GOES 16, the first satellite in NOAA's new GEO series, now at the GOES-East position. The state-of-the-art satellite was able to spot wildfires in Texas and Oklahoma previous year before emergency responders were even alerted.

The Geostationary Lightning Mapper on the satellite may be able to double the 10 to 15 minute lead time for tornado warnings now in place today, Wired reported.

ULA had been the go to private contractor for Government space missions, but since 2016 more and more mission have been awarded to rival company SpaceX.

The four-satellite GOES-R program has a total budget of $10.8 billion through its entire life cycle. Development of the advanced satellite program started back in 2005 and will continue through 2036.

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