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NOAA’s Next-Gen Weather Satellite Gets Launch Date

The GOES-R will be the first satellite in a series of next-generation NOAA GOES Satellites.

The GOES-R will be the first satellite in a series of next-generation NOAA GOES Satellites. // NASA

After what amounted to a year’s worth of delays, the U.S. government will finally launch the first of an $11 billion next-generation constellation of weather satellites on Nov. 4 from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced the launch of the first Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-R) after a series of management-driven delays that helped land NOAA’s environmental satellite programs on the government’s High-Risk List.

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For several years, the Government Accountability Office and Commerce inspector general have monitored the progress of GOES-R and its polar-orbiting satellite system counterpart, the $10 billion Joint Polar Satellite System, over gaps in satellite coverage that could occur should any of the aging fleets fail.

Assuming a successful launch, GOES-R should be operational by mid-2017, and it will essentially put NOAA weather forecasts on steroids. It will produce nine terabytes of weather data per day, beaming it down from 22,000 miles above the east or west coasts, and will deliver massive capabilities to scientists on the ground. 

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