Lift off! New weather satellite scheduled to launch Tuesday afternoon

Though the satellite will monitor the western U.S., it will help improve forecasts for storms that move toward our area

United Launch Alliance (ULA) hoists its Atlas V booster into the Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) adjacent to Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The rocket will launch NOAA’s GOES-T satellite for NASA’s Launch Services Program. (United Launch Alliance)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fl. – The third in a series of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) is scheduled to launch from the Kennedy Space Center Tuesday afternoon at 4:38.

According to NOAA, “The GOES-R Series provides advanced imagery and atmospheric measurements, real-time mapping of lightning activity, and space weather monitoring.”

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The mission of this particular satellite (GOES-T) is to take the place of the GOES-17 satellite that currently monitors the Western U.S. GOES-17 will remain as an on-orbit spare after GOES-T takes its place 22,000 miles above the earth’s surface.

You might ask, “Why do we care about a satellite that monitors the western U.S.?”

NOAA points out that one of its main objectives is to monitor storm systems in the Northeastern Pacific, which is where most storms that affect the Continental U.S. originate. (Of course, that’s not the case with hurricanes, tropical storms, etc. that affect our area.)

NOAA also states that it will detect fires, low clouds, fog, atmospheric rivers that cause flooding and mudslides, smoke, dust, data for air quality alerts and so much more.

The up-to-the-minute data collected by these satellites is fed into the forecast models that Your Local Weather Authority use as guidance for its forecasts.

As of Tuesday morning, the weather presents a 80% chance of a launch.

You can watch the launch as it happens by clicking this link.

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