November, 2016 update:
GOES-R has been delayed. New launch date is November 19th, 2016 at 5:42 pm
October 18, 2016 update:
The highly anticipated GOES-R launch has been delayed. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, continues to work along with NASA, United Launch Alliance (ULA) and the U.S. Air Force's 45th Space Wing making sure that the infrastructure and facilities are in good condition for the satellite's launch after Hurricane Matthew battered Cape Canaveral with winds of 115 mph the morning of October 7th.
The GOES-R spacecraft was not harmed during Hurricane Matthew as it was safely stored inside Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Florida.
At the moment there is not a set date for the launch, likely to be be after November 16th.
A great technological advance will be launched from Kennedy Space Center. A new satellite, GOES-R, will bring many advantages that will lead to better data and forecast improvements.
The first geostationary imager was launched on Dec. 6, 1966. Since then, there has been more launches, which have carried updates such as more infrared channels, additional bands, better resolutions and no outages due to eclipses.
The GOES-R Advance Baseline Imager will provide three times more channels, four times better spatial resolution, five times faster scans and on-orbit calibration.
There will be a total of 16 bands. The current imager provides five bands.
The spatial resolution will improve to 0.5 km on the visible, 1 km on the visible/near infrared and bands to 2 km.
On spatial coverage, the improvement will be very significant. Full disk images showing one side of the earth will be updated every 15 minutes. The Advanced Baseline Imager will also be able to operate in continuous full disk mode, providing uninterrupted scans of the full disk every five minutes. All ABI bands will have on-orbit calibration.
For the continuous United States, there will be 12 updates per hour (every five minutes) and in the mesoscale -- an intermediate scale, especially that between the scales of weather systems and of microclimates, on which storms and other phenomena occur -- there will be an update every 30 seconds.
GOES-R will provide lightning data. As the first-ever mapper to be flown in geostationary orbit, this will make it possible to see lightning in areas that radar cannot reach. Fog detection will be greatly improved, which will help in areas in which fog could bring challenges for marine activities as well as for offshore oil platforms. Space weather monitoring will also be possible with GOES-R, and we will be able to receive enhanced solar imaging, which could ultimately bring improvements to telecommunications.
Scientists have explained these upgrades as “going from black and white to full color in high definition."
Once GOES-R reaches geostationary orbit, it will be known at GOES-16. Once placed at 89.5 degrees checkout orbit, it will undergo an extended testing phase known as checkout and validation for about one year. Then it will become operational. This final phase will be determined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Satellite and Product Operations based on the health, safety and performance of the GOES satellite constellation.
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