NOAA’s GOES-S, the second in a series of next-generation geostationary weather satellites, headed south for the winter this week as it readies for launch in March 2018.
The spacecraft, protectively bundled up onboard an 18-wheeler inside a U.S. Air Force C-5M Super Galaxy cargo transport, completed its journey from the manufacturer in Littleton, Colo., to a clean room at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Monday, December 4, 2017.
GOES-S is scheduled to launch March 1, 2018, from Cape Canaveral and will be known as GOES-17 when it reaches final orbit. After an orbital test phase of its six instruments and their data, GOES-17 will be declared operational as the new GOES-West satellite. The spacecraft will provide coverage of the U.S. West Coast, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, Central America, parts of South America and the Pacific Ocean extending to Guam.
Like NOAA’s GOES-16, the first satellite of the new series of geostationary satellites, GOES-S will offer three times the number of imaging channels with four times greater image resolution. That’s five times faster than NOAA’s older geostationary satellites. For the U.S. West Coast, this means faster and more accurate data for tracking wildfires and potentially dangerous storm systems — so-called atmospheric rivers — that can send huge amounts of rain and snow to California, Oregon and Washington State.
These new spacecraft will improve hurricane tracking and intensity forecasts, increase thunderstorm and tornado warning lead-times, and enhance space weather monitoring.
Enjoy some photo postcards of GOES-S’ journey to Kennedy Space Center: