An Atlas V rocket blasted off from Florida today.An Atlas V rocket blasted off from Florida on Tuesday carrying to orbit the next big satellite designed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide round-the-clock tracking of weather, wildfires and climate change over Earth's western hemisphere.The GOES-T spacecraft is the third in the latest series of advanced geostationary satellites, credited with revolutionizing real-time weather forecasting, environmental monitoring and hazard detections from space.The GOES program - short for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites - is a collaboration between NOAA and NASA..
@NOAA's GOES-T weather spacecraft lifted off at 4:38pm ET (21:38 UTC), in a launch managed by @NASA_LSP: https://t.co/7LsRL5KTpoWatch coverage of the coast phase, with live commentary returning at 8pm ET (01:00 UTC Mar. 2) for spacecraft separation: https://t.co/z1RgZwQkWSpic.twitter.
com/ZCVi6XPr8y NASA (@NASA) March 1, 2022The latest satellite will be renamed GOES-18 once it reaches operational orbit some 22,000 miles (35,000 km) over the equator, joining predecessors GOES-16 and GOES-17. They were launched in 2016 and 2018, respectively.The geosynchronous orbits of the GOES satellites match the rotational speed of the Earth, keeping them in a constant position relative to the planet's surface.GOES-18 will replace GOES-17 in the western position, to keep watch over the western contiguous United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, Central America and the Pacific Ocean, according to NASA.GOES-17's operations were stunted by a faulty cooling system on its main imaging instrument, but it is still partly functional. GOES-16 will remain stationed over the eastern portion of the hemisphere.
GOES-T was lofted to its preliminary orbit on Tuesday aboard an Atlas V 541 rocket flown by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin Corp, from the Cape Canaveral U.S. Space Force Base in Florida.Once in final position, GOES-18 will be used to track not just weather but wildfires - one of its most important capabilities for the western United States - as well as flash floods, dust storms, fog and landslides.The satellite also is equipped to monitor geomagnetic storms triggered by bursts of solar activity, as well as oceanography and climate change.