WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA successfully launched for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the first in a series of highly advanced geostationary weather satellites Saturday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
NOAA's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R (GOES-R) lifted off at 6:42 p.m. EST on its way to boost the nation's weather observation capabilities, leading to more accurate and timely forecasts, watches and warnings. "The launch of GOES-R represents a major step forward in terms of our ability to provide more timely and accurate information that is critical for life-saving weather forecasts and warnings," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "It also continues a decades-long partnership between NASA and NOAA to successfully build and launch geostationary environmental satellites." After it reaches its final designated orbit in the next two weeks, GOES-R will be renamed GOES-16. The new satellite will become operational within a year, after undergoing a checkout and validation of its six new instruments, including the first operational lightning mapper in geostationary orbit. "The next generation of weather satellites is finally here," said NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan. "GOES-R will strengthen NOAA's ability to issue life-saving forecasts and warnings and make the United States an even stronger, more resilient weather-ready nation." Forecasters will use the lightning mapper to hone in on storms that represent the greatest threats. The satellite's primary instrument, the Advanced Baseline Imager, will provide images of Earth's weather, oceans and environment with 16 different spectral bands, including two visible channels, four near-infrared channels, and 10 infrared channels.