GOES-R weather satellite launched Saturday evening

GOES-R launched Saturday evening from Cape Canaveral, Fla. Credit: NASA TV.
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By Charles Roop
November 19, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The GOES-R satellite, aboard a Delta V rocket, launched at the last minute Saturday evening from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

There were a few delays before launch that pushed it back to the very end of the one-hour window. Issues with the rocket and, reportedly, craft in the restricted area held back the launch from it's original 5:42 pm launch time.

Once in position and testing is complete, the satellite will improve weather observations for meteorologists.


By Charles Roop
November 18, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - On Saturday evening, the meteorology community will either be staring at a rocket going up from Cape Canaveral, or watching it from a TV, computer, or mobile device. It's the best weather story since we got to see Jim Cantore go nuts over thundersnow.

NASA will be launching the next generation weather satellite, GOES-R. The latest Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, which will be named GOES 16 once it's deployed in space, will have the capability to monitor weather in near real time.

The imager on the satellite will be able to refresh as frequently as every 30 seconds, according to NOAA. The imager has three times the imagery channels, four times better resolution, and five times faster than the previous GOES birds.

The faster, higher resolution data will lead to better observations. The better observations will help meteorologists make better forecasts.

Lockheed Martin signed a $1.4 billion deal with NASA in 2008 to make the satellite. There were a couple of launch delays in the last couple of months. The launch was delayed in October due to Hurricane Matthew, and again earlier in November because of a rocket booster issue.

The Atlas V rocket carrying the satellite is scheduled for launch Saturday at 5:42 pm EST. The launch window will last for about an hour. As of Thursday, the weather was given the launch a 90-percent "go".

The data from GOES-R will not be available immediately as the satellite will have to do through positioning, deployment, and testing. But once it's up and running, everyone - including the Pinpoint Weather Team - will be able to take advantage of the new technology and capabilities to help keep you and your family safe.

The closest thing to GOES-R right now is Japan's Himawari-8 satellite. Japan's satellite uses a somewhat similar imager, which has given us incredible imagery of weather phenomena such as typhoons.

Meteorologist Rob Nucatola and I will be putting together a story on it after launch. Stay tuned.