GOES-16 scheduled to be fully operational on December 20th

Last year on November 19th, 2016, GOES-16 (formerly GOES-R) was launched on the Atlas V541 rocket from the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Nearly a year after its launch into geosynchronous orbit at an altitude of 22,240 miles above the Earth’s surface, the satellite constellation will begin its drift to the GOES-East operational longitudinal position of 75.2° west. Upon completion of the drift, GOES-16 will officially become GOES-East.

Graphic depicting the geosynchronous position of GOES-West and GOES-East. GOES-16 will move to 75.2°W longitude, and will officially become GOES-East upon implementation of full operations. Image credit: NOAA/NESDIS

During the drifting process, which is scheduled to begin on November 30th, 2017, instruments including the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI), Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM), and the Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI), will be shifted into safety modes and will therefore not be observing and[or] capturing realtime imagery. Additionally, according to the GOES-16 liaison team, the Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking (SARSAT) system will be disabled during the drifting process due to the potential for radio wave frequency interference. 

Throughout its first year of non-operational and preliminary data testing, GOES-16 captured high-resolution, realtime imagery of severe weather events, hurricanes, lightning, and wildfires across the United States and northern hemisphere. GOES-16 is a next generation weather satellite that will serve as an integral part for weather and climate prediction. Realtime imagery can be found here.

Image captured by GOES-16 of Hurricane Katia, Irma, and Jose, respectively, on September 7th, 2017. Image credit: NASA/NOAA

Below is a video that was captured by the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) over southeastern Texas on March 6th, 2017. Lightning detection in realtime will be critical for severe storms forecasting and operations. Video compilation credit is by NASA/NESDIS/NOAA.

The current satellite at the GOES-East position (GOES-13) will continue to collect data through the new year as it commences a drifting operation to 60°W, and the drift for GOES-13 will occur after GOES-16 locks into geosynchronous orbit at 75.2°W. As the 17th member of the GOES family, GOES-16 will extend the geosynchronous satellite operations through 2036.


Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, a NASA/NOAA program: http://www.goes-r.gov

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