NOAA -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

GOES-16 Mission



GOES-16, the first of NOAA’s next generation of geostationary weather satellites, the GOES-R series, successfully launched at 6:42pm (Eastern) on November 19, 2016. There will be four satellites in the series: GOES-R, GOES-S, GOES-T and GOES-U.

GOES-16 will provide continuous imagery and atmospheric measurements of Earth’s Western Hemisphere, total lightning data, and space weather monitoring to provide critical atmospheric, hydrologic, oceanic, climatic, solar and space data.

GOES-16 is a game changer. Here is why!

  • Improved hurricane track and intensity forecasts
  • Increased thunderstorm and tornado warning lead time
  • Improved aviation flight route planning
  • Improved air quality warnings
  • Improved solar flare warnings for communications and navigation disruptions
  • More accurate monitoring of energetic particles responsible for radiation hazards to humans and spacecraft
  • Better monitoring of space weather to improve geomagnetic storm forecasting

GOES-16’s environmental data products will support short-term 1-2 day weather forecasts and severe storm watches and warnings, maritime forecasts, seasonal predictions, drought outlooks and space weather predictions.

  • GOES-16 will offer 3x more spectral channels with 4x greater resolution, 5x faster than ever before.
  • GOES-16 can multi-task. The satellite will scan the Western Hemisphere every 15 minutes, the Continental U.S. every 5 minutes, and areas of severe weather every 30-60 seconds, all at the same time.
  • Satellites provide more than 95 percent of the data routinely assimilated into National Weather Service numerical weather prediction models.
  • GOES-16 can provide images of severe weather as frequently as every 30 seconds!
  • The satellite’s revolutionary Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) will be the first-ever operational lightning mapper flown from geostationary orbit.

The GOES-R series will maintain the two-satellite system implemented by the current GOES satellites. The operational GOES-R series satellites will be 75⁰ W and 137⁰ W and their operational lifetime extends through December 2036. For a history of GOES satellites, click here.

The Ground Segment

Ground support is critical to the GOES-16 mission. The ground system will operate the satellites, receive data from the spacecraft and generate and distribute real-time GOES-16 data products. The core ground system consists of two primary locations in Suitland, Maryland and Wallops, Virginia. A third back-up facility is located in Fairmont, West Virginia. Click here to read more about the ground operations for GOES-R.