America’s newest weather satellite blasted off Tuesday. It will improve wildfire and flood forecasting across the western half of the country.
It’s the replacement for a satellite launched exactly four years ago. It ended up with a cooling line blockage. It hindered its main camera.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the new model is redesigned to avoid the problem. It will be designated GOES-18 after reaching an equatorial orbit 22,000 miles up.
The first images will come next year. This is the third in a nearly $11.7 billion series of four GOES weather satellites. These are among the most advanced ever built. The costs include decades of operation. The first soared in 2016 to track Atlantic hurricanes. The second lifted off March 1, 2018. The fourth is set to launch in 2024.
The first two satellites in the series captured video of the rocket soaring out over the Atlantic from Cape Canaveral.
The NASA-supported satellites provided the only continuous coverage of weather and hazardous environmental conditions in the Western Hemisphere.
There are multiple ways of looking at the Earth. This gives us a lot more and a lot better information for these critical forecasts to save lives.
GOES-17 is losing as much as 10% of its data because of overheating camera detectors. It will be moved aside as an orbiting spare. The newly launched craft is ready to take its place next year over the Pacific. Each weighing more than 6,000 pounds.