GOES-R Launch -> November 16th

GOES-R Logo Courtesy NASA

GOES-R Logo Courtesy – NASA

The long awaited, highly anticipated, and highly advanced GOES-R is finally about to make its departure from earth’s surface to an orbit of around 22,500 miles up. After several delays throughout the product’s development, NASA, United Launch Alliance (ULA), and the US Air Force (USAF) have agreed on a new launch date and time of 16¬†November 2016 at 2142 UTC.

GOES-R will be the next launch in the weather and observation satellite category in over 6 years and will be a huge leap forward in weather forecasting and monitoring. Currently we have three Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) in operation:

  1. GOES-13 (aka GOES-N) (GOES-East) – Launched 24 May 2006
  2. GOES-14 (aka GOES-O) – Launched 27 June 2009
  3. GOES-15 (aka GOES-P) (GOES-West) – Launched 4 March 2010

GOES-13, operating as GOES-East, in the eastern part of the constellation at 75 degrees west longitude and GOES-15, operating as GOES-West, at 135 degrees west longitude. GOES-14 remains in storage positioning at 90 degrees west latitude and offers Super Rapid Scan Operations (SRSOR) during severe weather, which provides 1-minute interval visible satellite imagery.

The GOES-R series, which will be R, S, T and U, will maintain the two-satellite system implemented by the current GOES series. However, the locations of the operational GOES-R satellites will be 75 degrees west longitude and 137 degrees west longitude. The latter is a shift in order to eliminate conflicts with other satellite systems. The GOES-R series operational lifetime extends through December 2036.

Courtesy Lockheed

Courtesy – Lockheed

GOES-R offers a wide variety and future expanding product list, at much higher spatial and temporal resolution than any prior GOES satellite:

Aerosol Detection (Including Smoke and Dust)
Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD)
Clear Sky Masks
Cloud and Moisture Imagery
Cloud Optical Depth
Cloud Particle Size Distribution
Cloud Top Height
Cloud Top Phase
Cloud Top Pressure
Cloud Top Temperature
Derived Motion Winds
Derived Stability Indices
Downward Shortwave Radiation: Surface
Fire/Hot Spot Characterization
Hurricane Intensity Estimation
Land Surface Temperature (Skin)
Legacy Vertical Moisture Profile
Legacy Vertical Temperature Profile
Rainfall Rate / QPE
Reflected Shortwave Radiation: TOA
Sea Surface Temperature (Skin)
Snow Cover
Total Precipitable Water
Volcanic Ash: Detection and Height
Lightning Detection: Events, Groups & Flashes
Energetic Heavy Ions
Magnetospheric Electrons & Protons: Low Energy
Magnetospheric Electrons & Protons: Med & High Energy
Solar & Galactic Protons
Geomagnetic Field
Solar Flux: EUV
Solar Flux: X-ray Irradiance
Solar EUV Imagery

Quick and interesting facts:

  • GOES-R satellites will be in a geostationary orbit 22,500 miles above the Earth, always looking down and monitoring the U.S. and western hemisphere. ¬†
  • GOES-R will transmit more data in the first six months of operation than all previous GOES weather satellites combined.
  • The Geostationary Lightning Mapper will be the first operational lightning mapper flown in geostationary orbit.
  • GOES-R will continue its important role in the Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking (SARSAT) system which has contributed to the rescue of thousands of individuals in distress.

For more detailed and interesting information on GOES-R, check out these great websites on its future products, and the future GOES family satellites:


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