NOAA Weather Satellite Sent Into Space by United Launch Alliance

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Once GOES-17 becomes operational at the end of the year it will take over the position of GOES-West, which is now being occupied by the GOES-15 satellite that was launched in 2010.

Once in orbit, GOES-S's name will change to GOES-17, joining the GOES-16 satellite that launched in 2016 to create a powerful tandem that will inform weather forecasters using data it captures.

In addition to improving weather forecasts, GOES-17 will help forecasters locate and track wildfires - invaluable information that emergency response teams need to fight fires and evacuate people out of harm's way.

The primary customer for the data from the GOES satellites is the US Weather Service, but the information they beam to Earth is also shared openly with meteorologists around the world, NOAA said.

GOES-16 keeps a watchful eye over the full U.S. Eastern Seaboard.

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On Wednesday morning, the 197-foot-tall United Launch Alliance rocket rolled out to the pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 41, setting the stage for the launch of the newest Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, known as GOES-S. "As is evident with the performance of GOES-16 on orbit, we are gaining insight into our weather like never before".

The combined target areas mean the two next-generation spacecraft have a almost complete view of the Western Hemisphere with modern tools that capture high-definition images several times faster than legacy weather satellites. According to NASA, the new GOES-West will cover the area between New Zealand and North America thereby providing seamless and high-definition images, videos and data of the weather conditions. The older version of GOES satellites can send five images an hour, while GOES-S can send 12 higher-quality images in the same amount of time.

Being the most advanced of satellite fleets, the GOES can detect things like advanced solar flares and give advanced tornado warnings.

Once GOES-S is positioned in a geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above the Earth, after approximately two weeks, it will be renamed GOES-17. NOAA used GOES-East to track hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and more, as well as January's bomb cyclone and other extreme weather events, including wildfires developing in northern Texas. "It just takes them much more rapidly and in many different colors and with much better resolution than the past imagers".

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