GOES Satellites and Their Uses


The GOES satellite provides data on weather conditions from a geostationary orbit over the Western Hemisphere. The data from this satellite are crucial to short-term weather forecasting and monitoring. The National Environmental Satellite and Information Service (NESIS) distributes these data to research and operational centers around the world. These data are used by a variety of users, including the National Weather Service, commercial weather services, universities, the Department of Defense, and the global research community.

The GOES satellites are operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), who oversee their acquisition and operation. Each satellite is assigned a letter prior to launch and is given a numerical designation once in geostationary orbit. The GOES-N series includes GOES-13, GOES-14, and GOES-15. These satellites are used for both space and terrestrial weather forecasting. The data collected by these satellites is made available in the SPEDAS software.

GOES satellites also provide continuous monitoring of the Earth’s surface. Since these satellites are 35,800 km above the surface, they can remain stationary and maintain a full-disc view of the Earth’s surface. The data collected from these satellites can be used to improve weather forecasts and the understanding of long-term climate conditions.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) program is a joint effort of NASA and NOAA. The GOES satellites provide information on Earth and space weather, and their real-time capabilities allow them to monitor dangerous weather events and protect emergency response crews. With accurate weather forecasts, GOES satellites save lives.

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The new Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R series will help improve weather observations, monitoring, and prediction in the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans. GOES-16 is the first in this series, and it will provide images of weather patterns every 30 seconds. This satellite will help weather forecasters understand storms and predict their intensity and duration.