GOES-R: A #WeatherStory to Surpass Them All

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The storm that shakes the windows of your house, the sunset that has the perfect amount clouds spread among it, the snow storm that blankets the streets for a week: It’s all weather and it affects us all.

Lockheed Martin has been in the weather business for more than 50 years, but it’s been more than 20 years since the last update to the United States geosynchronous weather satellite system. Having built more than 100 weather and environmental spacecraft for our government’s civil and military agencies, Lockheed Martin is excited to take the next step in helping to improve our weather satellite system and the forecasts they provide our nation.

The next step in better telling our Earth’s #WeatherStory lies with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) – R spacecraft series.  GOES-R is a series of four satellites that Lockheed Martin is building in Denver, Colorado; the GOES-R, GOES-S, GOES-T and GOES-U spacecraft. These satellites will replace the current constellation and will be operational into the 2030s.

These GOES satellites will provide three times more spectral channels, four times better image resolution and five times faster scans of the Earth. GOES-R, the first satellite in the new series, will soon launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and it will forever benefit weather forecasting across the U.S.

“In terms of increased quality, the images from GOES-R have been described as going from standard definition TV to high definition TV. There’s also a huge increase in the performance of the spacecraft in addition to new capabilities,” said Tim Gasparrini, Lockheed Martin GOES-R vice president.

GOES-R will allow meteorologist across the country to tell a better, more accurate #WeatherStory to their viewers. The satellite can map lightning across the Western Hemisphere which may lead to improves warning times for tornado and severe storms.

“Right now we receive pictures every 30 minutes - sometimes 15 minutes. With the new GOES-R satellite, we will be able to see pictures come in every five minutes and sometimes as fast as 30 seconds,” said Mike Nelson, chief meteorologist at ABC’s Denver Ch. 7. “Imagine watching a thunderstorm boil up from outer space. This will be as big a step forward as Doppler radar.”

Lockheed Martin is also contributing three instruments for the satellites; the Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI), the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) and the magnetometer. SUVI’s data will protect satellites and astronauts in orbit and electrical power grids on Earth from electromagnetic storms. GLM will enable more timely and reliable tornado and severe weather warnings across North and South America. These new instruments are vital in telling a better #WeatherStory for us all.

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We all have that memory of a weather experience. It could be the perfect sunrise after an early morning hike, a gentle rainstorm viewed from your front porch or a hurricane that rocked your world. Do you have a #WeatherStory that you want to share? We want to hear about it! Post on your social media account and use #WeatherStory and #GOESR and your post will end up on the Lockheed Martin GOES-R webpage.

To watch GOES-R begin its #WeatherStory, you can tune into NASA TV to watch the live launch. The current launch date is Nov. 19, 2016.