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NASA launches next generation weather satellite

NASA has successfully launched the first in a series of highly advanced weather satellites on Sunday, that will lead to more accurate and timely forecasts, watches and warnings.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R (GOES-R) lifted off from Florida in the US.

“The launch of GOES-R represents a major step forward in terms of our ability to provide more timely and accurate information that is critical for life-saving weather forecasts and warnings,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

After it reaches its final designated orbit in the next two weeks, GOES-R will be renamed GOES-16.

The new satellite will become operational within a year, after undergoing a checkout and validation of its six new instruments, including the first operational lightning mapper in geostationary orbit.

“The next generation of weather satellites is finally here. GOES-R will strengthen NOAA’s ability to issue life-saving forecasts and warnings and make the US an even stronger, more resilient weather-ready nation,” said NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan.

Forecasters will use the lightning mapper to hone in on storms that represent the greatest threats.

The satellite’s primary instrument, the Advanced Baseline Imager, will provide images of Earth’s weather, oceans and environment with 16 different spectral bands, including two visible channels, four near-infrared channels and 10 infrared channels.

Improved space weather sensors on GOES-R will monitor the sun and relay crucial information to forecasters so they can issue space weather alerts and warnings.

In all, data from GOES-R will result in 34 new or improved meteorological, solar and space weather products.

There are four satellites in the GOES-R series: R, S, T and U, which will extend NOAA’s geostationary coverage through 2036. 
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