The GOES-16 (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on November 19th of last year. Originally, the name of the satellite was GOES-R as it is part of a multi-satellite series, as GOES-S, GOES-T, and GOES-U, are scheduled to be launched in 2018, 2019, and 2024, respectively.
GOES-16 underwent several technical calibrations after it achieved its geostationary orbiting height of 22,300 miles above the surface of the Earth. Just today, GOES-16 sent its first images of our planet that were captured on January 15th, 2017, back to NASA. The images of the Earth are, indeed, mesmerizing to marvel at as these images are a sign of what is to come with the advancements of weather technology.
The high-resolution imagery, according to NOAA, was sent via its “Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) instrument. It was created using several of the ABI’s sixteen spectral channels.” As a result from the multiple spectral channels collecting imagery of the Earth, the satellite then compiled all of the disk images into one, unveiling the first true-color full disk image of Earth.
GOES-16 will be critical in the operational realm of atmospheric science and meteorological studies. It will have the capability of observing realtime weather in much more detail, including realtime lightning detection capabilities, soil moisture measurements, and increasing the forecast lead time for severe convective thunderstorms.