GOES-S the Most Advanced Weather Satellites Launched

Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-S (GOES-S)  lifted off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V Rocket at 5:02 p.m. EST (2202 GMT) i.e. 17:02 Eastern Time (22:02 UTC) on Thursday,  March 1, 2018 and deployed an advanced weather satellite for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA).

GOES-S is the newest and most advanced weather satellites ever built. It is the second in a series of four advanced weather satellites that will reside in geostationary orbit – hanging in place over one spot on Earth as they orbit and the world turns. Its companion, GOES-R, now known as GOES-16, was launched on November 19, 2016. GOES-S is the fifth generation of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) program, a series of spacecraft that NOOA uses to provide continuous monitoring of weather conditions in the United States and across the western hemisphere. At any time, the GOES constellation consists of two (a pair) operational satellites in geostationary orbit, plus a number of spares.

GOES-S will be renamed GOES-17 when it reaches geostationary orbit and is expected to replace the eight-year-old GOES-15. Once the satellite is declared operational, late this year, it will occupy NOAA’s GOES-West position and provide faster, more accurate data for tracking wildfires, tropical cyclones, fog and other storm systems and hazards that threaten the western United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, Mexico, Central America and the Pacific Ocean, all the way to New Zealand.

GOES complements NOAA’s polar orbit satellites – such as the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) since renamed NOAA-20 that was launched on November 18, 2017. The Polar orbit satellites make brief passes over much of the Earth’s surface, while from their geostationary orbits high above the equator; GOES spacecraft constantly observe the same disc of the planet. The two operational satellites are stationed at 75 and 137 degrees West – slots designated GOES-East and GOES-West respectively.

The satellite occupying GOES-East is responsible for monitoring the eastern United States, the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will operate GOES-S in partnership with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The Lockheed Martin-built satellite will join GOES-East, currently in orbit, to provide a broad, high-definition view of weather on Earth.

GOES-R-class satellites are being built by Lockheed Martin. They are based on the A2100A satellite bus and each has a mass at launch of 5,192 kilograms with dimensions of 6.1 by 5.6 by 3.9 meters. The satellites are designed to operate in orbit for fifteen years: consisting of five years’ on-orbit storage and ten years of weather monitoring.

Two further satellites of the GOES-R class – GOES-T and GOES-U – are expected to be launched in 2020 and 2022.

Before beginning the GOES program, NOAA operated a pair of experimental geostationary weather satellites – named Synchronous Meteorological Satellites (SMS). SMS-1 was launched by a Delta 2914 rocket in May 1974, with SMS-2 following in February 1975. Following their success, three operational GOES spacecraft were built based on the same design. These were launched between October 1975 and June 1978. A second generation of satellites – consisting of five satellites – were launched between 1980 and 1987. The fourth second-generation satellite, GOES-G, was lost in a May 1986 launch failure.


UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) is the primary time standard by which the world regulates clocks and time. It is within about 1 second of mean solar time at 0° longitude; it does not observe daylight saving time.

UTC is the time standard commonly used across the world. The world’s timing centres have agreed to keep their time scales closely synchronized – or coordinated – therefore the name Coordinated Universal Tim

Although GMT and UTC share the same current time in practice, there is a basic difference between the two:

  • GMT is a time zone officially used in some European and African countries. The time can be displayed using both the 24-hour format (0 – 24) or the 12-hour format (1 – 12 am/pm).
  • UTC is not a time zone, but a time standard that is the basis for civil time and time zones worldwide. This means that no country or territory officially uses UTC as a local time.
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