What's New with GOES-T?
Now that it's in space, GOES-18 (formerly known as GOES-T) will undergo an on-orbit checkout of its instruments and systems before beginning official operations in January 2023.
In addition to severe weather monitoring, it will do things like:
- Identify volcanic eruptions, even ones under the ocean, like the recent event near Tonga
- Measure land and sea surface temperatures to track drought conditions and warming oceans
- Provide early alerts to emergency responders for wildfires, including those caused by lightning strikes
- Observe solar flares that could impact telecommunication on and around Earth
With three of the four GOES-R weather satellites now launched, GOES-U, the last satellite in the series, is in production and planned for a 2024 launch.
Beyond the GOES-R series, Lockheed Martin looks forward to continued partnership with NASA and NOAA as they look ahead to future weather and climate missions.
NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) spacecraft have been delivering reliable weather forecasts for decades. Now, the Lockheed Martin-built GOES-R satellite series provides more timely and accurate weather forecasts than ever before.
The GOES-R series includes four weather satellites: GOES-16 and GOES-17 (known as GOES-R and S prior to entering orbit), GOES-T (scheduled to launch in March 2022) and GOES-U (in production now for a planned 2024 launch).
These satellites help us better predict weather by giving expert forecasters the images and data they need to analyze conditions on Earth and in space — making necessary split-second decisions to save lives and property.
Weather Forecasting Innovations
Over 50 years, Lockheed Martin has built and launched 100+ weather and environmental spacecraft for our government’s civil and military agencies.
The leading edge technology now available on GOES-16 and GOES-17 enables the satellites to observe and predict weather on Earth and in space faster and more accurately than ever. Each GOES-R satellite carries six instruments, including:
- Geostationary Lightning Mapper: As the first operational lightning mapper flown in its orbit, the GLM tracks lightning across the U.S. in real-time, taking hundreds of images every second and mapping both cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning. By collecting data on the frequency, location and extent of lightning discharges, GLM allows meteorologists to quickly identify intensifying storms and take appropriate action.
- Solar Ultraviolet Imager: The SUVI telescope measures the sun in the extreme ultraviolet wavelength range and provides full-disk solar images. SUVI is essential to understanding active areas on the sun and predicting solar events that may disrupt power utilities, communication or navigation systems here on Earth.
The Magnetometer, Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI), Extreme Ultraviolet and X-ray Irradiance Sensors (EXIS) and Space Environment In-Situ Suite (SEISS) instruments are also aboard all the GOES-R series satellites. In addition, GOES-U will have the Naval Research Laboratory’s Compact Coronagraph-1 (CCOR-1) on board.
Why is Weather Prediction Important?
Overall, the four satellites in the Lockheed Martin-built GOES-R series are providing forecasters in the U.S. and western hemisphere with sharper, more defined images of severe storms, hurricanes, wildfires and other weather hazards.
Through its laser-accurate forecasting, the series also aims to generate significant benefits to the nation in the areas of climate monitoring, ecosystems management, commerce and transportation. Here are some ways the GOES-R satellite series helps the world that you might not know about:
- In its first six months of operation, GOES-16 transmitted more data than all previous GOES weather satellites combined.
- GOES-16 and 17 both play an important role in the Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking (SARSAT) system that has contributed to the rescue of thousands of individuals.
- In 2020 alone, NOAA satellites — including GOES-16 and 17 — helped save 304 lives.
- 2020 was the busiest Atlantic storm season on record, producing 30 named storms — including six major hurricanes. GOES-16 and 17 took many images of these storms, which were used for forecasting as severe weather approached.
- When wildfires occur, data from GOES-16 and 17 are used to produce the real-time fire boundaries seen on Google Maps.