Getting to Know the Satellites


GOES satellites, operated by NOAA, monitor Earth’s weather and climate conditions. They are also an important element in helping scientists track severe weather events such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and thunderstorms. The data that GOES collects is then sent to NOAA and other weather forecasting organizations.


The first GOES satellite was launched in 1975 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Since then, GOES has provided continuous imagery and weather data on atmospheric conditions and solar activity (spaceweather) to help meteorologists create more accurate and timely forecasts of the Earth’s climate and environment. GOES satellites have also helped people in distress by providing search and rescue data as well.

A geostationary orbit

In order to gather continuous information on Earth’s weather and climate, GOES satellites must be very far away from the ground. The GOES satellites orbit in a geostationary orbit, which means they hover 35,800 km (22,300 miles) above the Earth. This allows them to view large sectors of the Earth’s surface and take pictures that can be used to see how storms are moving.

A geostationary orbit is a type of orbit in which a satellite orbits at the same speed as the Earth’s rotation. This is a unique orbit that allows the satellite to stay in one position above the Earth’s surface, allowing it to see a full-disc picture of the planet.

GOES satellites are designated with a letter prior to launch, and then given a number when they achieve their geostationary orbit. They will continue to receive their data from GOES-16, which will take the place of GOES East, and another satellite, GOES West, will begin taking the place of GOES East next year (2018).

The GOES system currently consists of two satellites, GOES-East and GOES-West, which operate at 75 degrees west longitude and 135 degrees west longitude. The two satellites will remain together in the GOES constellation until 2036.

A GOES satellite is a geosynchronous orbiting weather satellite that orbits at the same speed as the Earth’s earth rotation. These satellites are 35,800 km (22,300 miles) high above the Earth’s surface and provide a clear view of the Earth.

Imagery from a GOES satellite is taken by the advanced baseline imager and then converted into other weather data, such as images of clouds, ocean currents, and land and air temperature. This information can be used to create maps and radar images, as well as to improve weather forecasts.

This technology has been developed for GOES, but it can also be applied to many other types of satellites, such as weather imaging and sounding instruments, satellite communications systems, and other types of spacecraft. It can help to improve the accuracy of these systems and the efficiency with which they operate.


The GOES-R series of satellites, designed and built by NASA for NOAA, is an improvement over previous GOES spacecraft. It features a five-times-faster imager that uses more than twice the number of channels and four times the resolution of the previous generation. This new instrument provides imagery of weather patterns and hurricanes every 30 seconds to aid in the development of more accurate and reliable forecasts. It is also equipped with a 10-minute full disk scanner that can be used to detect regions of potential turbulence.