The GOES-R Series Satellites


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GOES provides essential meteorological and oceanographic information to the NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Offices, National Centers, Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers, and airports to improve aviation safety. Ten-minute full disk imagery is critical for monitoring hazardous conditions and in observationally limited areas like over the ocean or in mountains, enabling forecasters to detect changes quickly and make informed decisions.

The Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) is the primary instrument for imaging Earth’s weather and oceans, with three times more spectral channels, four times higher resolution, and five times faster scanning than previous GOES satellites. The Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) and the Extreme Ultraviolet and X-ray Irradiance Sensors (EXIS) are also part of the GOES-R Series satellite system.

The GOES-R spacecraft and sensors are designed, developed and built by Lockheed Martin. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, oversees the GOES-R Series program.

The first GOES-R satellite, GOES-R 17, launched from the Kennedy Space Center on April 16, 2014. The spacecraft’s system module Pre-Shipment Review was held on April 11, and it was shipped by large commercial aircraft to the Denver International Airport on April 14. It then was loaded onto a C-17 large military transport aircraft for transportation to its final destination at Lockheed Martin’s facility in Littleton, Colorado.

Once in orbit, the satellite was renamed GOES-18. GOES-18 began its operational mission on May 15, providing critical meteorological and environmental observations. GOES-18 imagery has captured severe storms in east Texas and western New Mexico, wildfires in Arizona and Chile in South America, the expansion of clouds over the Yucatan and Florida, and stunning views of our planet. ABI data from multiple spectral channels can be combined to create imagery that approximates what the human eye would see from spaceā€”a technique known as GeoColor. The ABI images can also be viewed in different color palettes to highlight specific features of interest.