Views of Earth’s weather from space are about to get even better.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is launching a new weather geostationary satellite Tuesday afternoon called GOES-T. It will be launched atop an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida at 4:38 p.m. EST.
The is the third satellite of its kind to be launched, and like GOES-16 and 17, its predecessors, it will be used by meteorologists across the world. Observations from these satellites have improved forecasting and meteorologists’ ability to see weather patterns. Once in orbit, the satellite will take on the name GOES-18. The GOES-R satellite series is a collaborative venture between NOAA and NASA at a cost of $11.7 billion.
“It’ll be able to see an area from South America almost to Australia and then from Alaska down to Antarctica and gives us images of that every ten minutes so it helps us track weather systems and other hazards,” said NOAA and National Hurricane Center forecast Jack Bevan.
GOES-18 will replace GOES-17 (also known as ‘GOES West’), which faced instrument issues after its launch. GOES-17 will become a standby satellite.
“We also have the GOES East satellite, so Texas is in good coverage for both satellites,” said Bevan.
GOES-18 has largely the same instrumentation, with a few fixes and upgrades. Like its fellow GOES satellites, it will be able to see things like ash from volcanic eruptions and wildfires. It allowed us to see the recent eruption of an underwater volcano in the Pacific near Tonga.
It also adds instruments to help forecast space weather.
“There are two instruments on the satellite dedicated to space weather that’ll be watching the sun continuously and sending us back these images that will help us do a better job of the space weather forecast and warnings.”