October 23, 2017 – NOAA is planning to move GOES-16 into its operational orbit at 75.2 degrees west longitude (the GOES East position) starting on November 30, 2017.
Positioning satellites in the East and West locations, along with an on-orbit spare, ensures that forecasters get a thorough look at developing weather systems that affect the U.S., from the western Pacific to the coast of Africa. From its east position, GOES-16 will be able to observe the entire continental U.S., and monitor areas most vulnerable to tornadoes, floods, land-falling tropical storms, hurricanes, and other severe storms, according to NOAA.
During the drift period, five instruments (ABI, GLM, SUVI, SEISS, and EXIS) will be placed in safe or diagnostic modes and will not be capturing or distributing data. The magnetometers will be the only instruments that will continue to operate throughout the drift period.
GOES-16 will officially become GOES-East when all instruments resume regular operations on December 20, 2017.
NOAA’s GOES-13, currently serving as GOES-East, will continue to provide instrument data (allowing a period of overlap) until January 2, 2018, at which time instruments will be turned off and it will be moved to its storage location at 60 degrees west. Meanwhile, GOES-15 will continue as the GOES-West satellite.
GOES-16 (previously called GOES-R) is NOAA’s most advanced geostationary weather satellite to date. GOES-R will provide five times faster weather coverage, better data for hurricane tracking and intensity forecasts, real-time mapping of total lightning for improved severe weather forecasts, advanced warning of space weather hazards, and improved transportation safety.
GOES-16 is the first in a series of four next-generation geostationary satellites being built by Lockheed Martin. The next, GOES-S, is scheduled to launch by spring 2018 and will be expected to move to the GOES-West location once it is commissioned. GOES-S will be followed by the launches of GOES-T and GOES-U, in 2020 and 2024 respectively.
The GOES-16 satellite was launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V on November 19, 2016. Since then, the satellite’s instruments and the data they produce have undergone an extensive engineering checkout and instrument validation period.
GOES-R/GOES-16 is a collaboration between NASA and NOAA. The GOES-R series satellites are being built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Littleton, Colorado. In addition to the spacecraft, Lockheed Martin also provides the Magnetometer, the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM), and the Solar Ultra-Violet Imager (SUVI). The University of Colorado Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) provides the Extreme ultraviolet/X-ray Irradiance Sensors (EXIS).