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Names GOES-R
Mission type Meteorology
Operator NOAA
COSPAR ID 2016-071A
SATCAT no. 41866
Website www.goes-r.gov
Mission duration Planned: 15 years
Elapsed: 1 year, 4 months
Spacecraft properties
Bus A2100A
Manufacturer Lockheed Martin[1]
Launch mass 5,192 kg (11,446 lb)
Dry mass 2,857 kg (6,299 lb)
Dimensions 6.1 × 5.6 × 3.9 m (20 × 18 × 13 ft)
Power 4 kW
Start of mission
Launch date 19 November 2016, 23:42 (2016-11-19UTC23:42) UTC
Rocket Atlas V 541 (AV-069)[3]
Launch site Cape Canaveral SLC-41
Contractor United Launch Alliance
Entered service 18 December 2017[2]
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Geostationary
Longitude 75.2° West[4]
Slot GOES-East
Semi-major axis 42,164.8 km (26,200.0 mi)
Eccentricity 0.0001538
Perigee 35,780.2 km (22,232.8 mi)
Apogee 35,793.1 km (22,240.8 mi)
Inclination 0.0363°
Period 1,436.1 minutes
Epoch 1 March 2018, 18:22:45[5]

GOES-R logo.png
GOES-R insignia mission

← GOES-15
GOES-17 →

GOES-16, previously known as GOES-R,[6] is the first of the GOES-R series of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) operated by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it provides atmospheric and surface measurements of the Earth’s Western Hemisphere for weather forecasting, severe storm tracking, space weather monitoring and meteorological research. GOES-16 launched at approximately 23:42 UTC on 19 November 2016 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, United States.[7] GOES-16 is NOAA’s first geostationary weather satellite to carry a lightning detector, it became operational - replacing GOES-13 in the GOES-East position over the eastern United States and the Atlantic Ocean - on 18 December 2017.[8]


GOES-16 is a follow-on to the current GOES system that is used by NOAA's National Weather Service for weather monitoring and forecasting operations as well as by researchers for understanding interactions between land, ocean, atmosphere and climate. The GOES-R series program is a collaborative effort between NOAA and NASA to develop, deploy and operate the satellites, they are managed from Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The GOES-R series (GOES-R, S, T, & U) will extend the availability of the operational GOES satellite system through 2036.[9] On 30 November 2017, GOES-16 began a drift maneuver to move from 89.5°W to the GOES-East position at 75°W, arriving there on 11 December.[10] After a calibration period, the satellite resumed operations as GOES-East,[10] the then GOES-East satellite, GOES-13, then began a move on 2 January to the storage location at 60°W, arriving on 22 January.

GOES-16 has several improvements over the old GOES system,[11] its advanced instruments and data processing provides:


The GOES-16 spacecraft A2100 bus is 3-axis stabilized and designed for 10 years of on-orbit operation preceded by up to 5 years of on-orbit storage, it provides near-continuous observations as well as vibration isolation for the Earth-pointed optical bench and high-speed spacecraft-to-instrument interfaces designed to maximize data collection. The cumulative time that GOES-16 science data collection (including imaging) is interrupted by momentum management, station-keeping and yaw flip maneuvers is under 120 minutes/year, this represents a nearly two order of magnitude improvement compared to older GOES satellites.[13]


The GOES-16 instrument suite includes three types of instruments: Earth sensing, solar imaging, and space environment measuring.[13]

Earth facing[edit]

Two instruments point toward Earth:

Advanced Baseline Imager[edit]

Image of the January 2018 North American blizzard maturing off the east coast of the United States. The image is a composition of multiple ABI channels to form an approximation of full color (GeoColor).

The Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) is the primary instrument on GOES-16 for imaging Earth’s weather, climate and environment, it was designed and built by Exelis Geospatial Systems (formerly ITT Space Systems, now Harris Space & Intelligence Systems), along with sub-contractors BAE Systems, Babcock Incorporated, BEI Technologies, DRS Technologies, L-3 Communications SSG-Tinsley, and Northrop Grumman Space Technology.[14] ABI is able to view the Earth across 16 spectral bands, including two visible channels, four near-infrared channels and ten infrared channels, it provides three times more spectral information, up to four times the spatial resolution (depending on the band), and more than five times faster coverage than the instruments on previous GOES satellites. Forecasters use the higher resolution images to track the development of storms in their early stages.[15] Instruments nearly identical to ABI are used by Japan on Himawari 8 and Himawari 9.

Geostationary Lightning Mapper[edit]

The GOES-16 Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) takes continuous day and night measurements of the frequent intra-cloud lightning that accompanies many severe storms, and does so even when the high-level cirrus clouds atop mature thunderstorms obscure the underlying convection from the imager. Research and testing demonstrated the GLM potential for improvement in tornado warning lead time and false alarm rate reduction,[16] it was anticipated that GLM data would have applications to aviation weather services, climatological studies, and severe thunderstorm forecasts and warnings. The GLM provides information to identify growing, active, and potentially destructive thunderstorms over land as well as ocean areas.[17]

Studies show that a sudden increase in total lightning activity (flash rate) correlates with an increase in storm intensity. Thus, a significant increase in a storm's flash rate may signify a storm becoming severe and causing damaging winds, large hail, and/or tornadoes.[18]

The GLM consists of a telescopic CCD camera sensitive to 777.4 nm light. It has a spatial resolution of 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) (at nadir) to 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) (at edge of field of view) and captures 500 frames per second. The CCD's pixel pitch varies across its area.[16]

Sun facing[edit]

Two sun-facing instruments are mounted to the arm holding the solar panel: the Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI) and the Extreme Ultraviolet and X-Ray Irradiance Sensors (EXIS).

Solar Ultraviolet Imager[edit]

Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI) is a telescope that observes the Sun in the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) wavelength range. SUVI observes and characterizes complex, active regions of the Sun, solar flares and the eruptions of solar filaments that may give rise to coronal mass ejections. Depending on the size and the trajectory of solar eruptions, the possible effects to the Earth’s environment (referred to as "space weather") include the disruption of power utilities, communication and navigation systems; and possible damage to orbiting satellites and the International Space Station. SUVI observations of flares and solar eruptions provide an early warning of possible impacts to the Earth environment and enable better forecasting of potentially disruptive events.[19]

Simulated GOES-R Solar Ultraviolet Imager image
GOES-R will offer advanced imaging for more accurate forecasts, real-time mapping of lightning activity, and improved monitoring of solar activity.

Extreme Ultraviolet and X-Ray Irradiance Sensors[edit]

The Extreme Ultraviolet and X-Ray Irradiance Sensors (EXIS) detect solar soft X-ray irradiance and solar extreme ultraviolet spectral irradiance in the 5-127 nm range. The X-Ray Sensor (XRS) monitors solar flares that can disrupt communications and degrade navigational accuracy, affecting satellites, astronauts, high latitude airline passengers and power grid performance. The Extreme Ultraviolet Sensor monitors solar variations that directly affect satellite drag/tracking and ionospheric changes, which impact communications and navigation operations, this information is critical to understanding the outer layers of the Earth’s atmosphere.[20]

Space environment[edit]

Two in-situ instruments will monitor the space environment: the Space Environment In-Situ Suite and a magnetometer.

Space Environment In-Situ Suite[edit]

The Space Environment In-Situ Suite (SEISS) consists of an array of sensors that monitor the proton, electron and heavy ion fluxes at geosynchronous orbit. The data is used for assessing radiation hazards to astronauts and satellites; in addition to hazard assessment, the data is used to warn of high flux events, mitigating damage to radio communication. The instrument suite consists of the Energetic Heavy Ion Sensor (EHIS), the Magnetospheric Particle Sensor - High and Low (MPS-HI and MPS-LO), and the Solar and Galactic Proton Sensor (SGPS). Data is used to drive the solar radiation storm portion of NOAA space weather scales and to improve solar energetic particle forecasts.[21]


The GOES-16 Magnetometer (MAG) will measure the space environment magnetic field that controls charged particle dynamics in the outer region of the magnetosphere, these particles can be dangerous to spacecraft and human spaceflight. The geomagnetic field measurements will provide alerts and warnings to satellite operators and power utilities, this data will also be used in research. Data products will be part of NOAA space weather operations, providing information on the general level of geomagnetic activity and permitting detection of sudden magnetic storms; in addition, measurements will be used to validate large-scale space environment models that are used in operations.[22]

Unique Payload Services[edit]

The GOES-16 Unique Payload Services (UPS) consist of transponder payloads that provide communications relay services in addition to primary mission data, the UPS suite consists of the Data Collection System (DCS), the High Rate Information Transmission/Emergency Managers Weather Information Network (HRIT/EMWIN), GOES-16 Rebroadcast (GRB), and the Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking (SARSAT) System.

GOES-16 Rebroadcast (GRB) is the primary space relay of Level 1b products and replaced the GOES VARiable (GVAR) service. GRB provides full resolution, calibrated, navigated, near-real-time direct broadcast data, the data distributed via GRB service is the full set of Level 1b products from all instruments aboard the GOES-R series spacecraft. This concept for GRB was based on analysis that a dual-pole circularly-polarized L-band link of 12 MHz bandwidth can support up to a 31-megabits per second (Mbps) data rate – enough to include all ABI channels in a lossless compressed format as well as data from GLM, SUVI, EXIS, SEISS and MAG.[23]

SARSAT System Overview

The Data Collection System (DCS) is a relay system used to collect information from a large number of Earth-based platforms that transmit in-situ environmental sensor data on predefined frequencies and schedules, in response to thresholds in sensed conditions, or in response to requests. Enhancements to the DCS program during the GOES-16 era include expansion in the number of user-platform channels from 266 to 433.[24]

The Emergency Managers Weather Information Network (EMWIN) is a direct service that provides users with weather forecasts, warnings, graphics and other information directly from the National Weather Service in near-real time, the GOES EMWIN relay service is one of a suite of methods to transmit these products to end users. The HRIT service provides broadcast of low-resolution GOES satellite imagery data and selected products to remotely located user HRIT terminals.[25]

As an integral part of the international search and rescue satellite program called COSPAS-SARSAT, NOAA operates the Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking (SARSAT) System to detect and locate mariners, aviators and other recreational users in distress almost anywhere in the world at any time and under almost any conditions, this system uses a network of satellites to detect and locate distress signals from ELTs onboard aircraft, vessels and from handheld personal locator beacons (PLB). The SARSAT transponder on the GOES-16 satellite provides the capability to immediately detect distress signals from emergency beacons and relay them to ground stations - called Local User Terminals; in turn, this signal is routed to a SARSAT Mission Control Center and then sent to a Rescue Coordination Center which dispatches a search and rescue team to the location of the distress.[26]

Ground system[edit]

NOAA Satellite Operations Facility, Suitland, Maryland
Wallops Command and Data Acquisition Station, Wallops Island, Virginia

NOAA has developed a ground system (GS) to receive data and generate and distribute it in real-time,[27] the key functions of the GS are Mission Management, Product Generation, Product Distribution and Enterprise Management/Infrastructure. The ground system operates from multiple locations:

  • NOAA Satellite Operations Facility (NSOF): Located in Suitland, Maryland, the NSOF houses the majority of GOES-16 mission operations. The EM, PG, and PD functions are performed there, the majority of operations and product staff are also housed at NSOF. Four existing 9.1-meter antennas were upgraded for compatibility with GOES-16. These antennas maintain compatibility with existing GOES satellites and will operate continuously for the life of the GOES-R series.
  • Wallops Command and Data Acquisition Station (WCDAS): Located in Wallops, Virginia, WCDAS is the primary site for space-to-ground radio frequency (RF) communications. Level 1b data is processed at WCDAS to produce GOES Rebroadcast (GRB) for satellite uplink. WCDAS also provides uplink to the satellites to support UPS. Three new 16.4-meter antennas were constructed at WCDAS. They were designed to withstand sustained winds of 110 mph (Category 2 hurricane) and to survive (in a stowed position) gusts of up to 150 mph. These antennas are compatible with existing GOES satellites and will operate continuously for the life of the GOES-R series.
  • Remote Backup (RBU) Facility: Located in Fairmont, West Virginia, RBU's primary function is to support contingency operations and perform the critical functions of NSOF and WCDAS through the production and distribution of life and property products. RBU provides product generation for all Key Performance Parameters (KPPs), it also serves as a backup during system/equipment testing or maintenance. Three new 16.4-meter antennas were constructed there to the same specifications as at WCDAS.

User community[edit]

GOES-16 prepared the satellite data user community for the types of imagery and data it produces. Users include individuals, companies and institutions.

GOES-16 data appeals to a wide variety of users. Larger, institutional users exploit the increases in spectral, temporal and spatial resolution for greater accuracy. GOES-16 data is used in real time for life and property forecasting and warning applications primarily by the National Weather Service, where these users are able to monitor severe storms. Other smaller public and private sector users are able to obtain GOES-16 data through their own Earth stations, or through network distribution.[28]

Cooperative institutes[edit]

GOES-R Cooperative Institutes

Cooperative Institutes (CIs) are non-federal academic and non-profit research institutions supported by NOAA that provide resources to the agency's mission, goals, and strategic plans.[29] Eight NOAA CIs support GOES-16:

Proving ground[edit]

Many GOES-16 products are aimed at monitoring severe weather and helping forecasters issue earlier, more accurate, severe weather warnings, the Proving Ground was established to prepare operational forecasters for the amount of data that became available with the GOES-R series and to ensure maximum utilization of that data. Its goals were: training forecasters to use new products, identifying different utilities of each product, identifying weaknesses or errors with each product, user-feedback development, and day one readiness for GOES-16 operations.[11][30]

Launch vehicle[edit]

The GOES-16 satellite launched aboard an Atlas V 541 expendable launch vehicle from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.[31][32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "GOES-R". Archived from the original on 24 February 2017. Retrieved 7 March 2017. 
  2. ^ "Satellite: GOES-16". OSCAR. World Meteorological Organization. 2 March 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2018. 
  3. ^ "AV-069 – Spaceflight Now". Archived from the original on 19 February 2017. Retrieved 7 March 2017. 
  4. ^ "Drifting Satellites: What Happens when NOAA GOES-16 is Moved into Operational Position". Retrieved 27 December 2017. 
  5. ^ "GOES-R - Orbit". Heavens-Above. 1 March 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2018. 
  6. ^ "GOES-16 - NOAA NESDIS". Archived from the original on 29 January 2017. Retrieved 7 March 2017. 
  7. ^ "GOES-R Series Mission". Retrieved 27 December 2017. 
  8. ^ Clark, Stephen (20 December 2017). "NOAA's GOES-16 weather satellite declared operational". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 27 December 2017. 
  9. ^ "Flyout Charts/Schedules - NOAA's Satellite and Information Service (NESDIS)". Nesdis.noaa.gov. 21 September 2015. Archived from the original on 19 January 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  10. ^ a b "GOES-16 to GOES-East Drift Plan". Satellite Liaison Blog. 28 September 2017. Archived from the original on 29 September 2017. Retrieved 29 September 2017. 
  11. ^ a b "Proving Ground". GOES-R. NASA, NOAA. Archived from the original on 5 February 2012. 
  12. ^ "GOES-R Brochure" (PDF). Goes-r.gov. Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 February 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  13. ^ a b "GOES-R Spacecraft Overview". GOES-R. NASA, NOAA. Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  14. ^ "ITT Passes Review for GOES-R Advanced Baseline Imager". GIM International (Press release). Geomares Publishing. 27 February 2007. Retrieved 3 January 2018. 
  15. ^ "The ABI on GOES-R" (PDF). Goes-r.gov. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  16. ^ a b "The Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) for the GOES-R Series of Geostationary Satellites" (PDF). Goes-r.gov. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  17. ^ "The Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) on the GOES-R Series:" (PDF). Goes-r.gov. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  18. ^ "Lightning, Tornadoes, and the Future of NOAA Satellites [1080p". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2 July 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  19. ^ "Satnews Publishers: Daily Satellite News". Satnews.com. 30 December 2009. Archived from the original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  20. ^ "GOES-R EXIS Instrument Page". Goes-r.gov. 7 July 2014. Archived from the original on 20 February 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  21. ^ "GOES-R SEISS Instrument Page". Goes-r.gov. 7 July 2014. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  22. ^ "GOES-R Magnetometer". Goes-r.gov. 7 July 2014. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  23. ^ "GOES Rebroadcast". Goes-r.gov. Archived from the original on 28 January 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  24. ^ "GOES Data Collection System" (PDF). Goes-r.gov. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  25. ^ "GOES-R HRIT/EMWIN Overview page". Goes-r.gov. 7 July 2014. Archived from the original on 20 February 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  26. ^ "NOAA - Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking - Welcome". Sarsat.noaa.gov. 22 January 2016. Archived from the original on 2 November 2017. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  27. ^ "GOES-R Ground Segment Overview". Goes-r.gov. Archived from the original on 26 February 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  28. ^ "GOES-R User Readiness Overview". Goes-r.gov. 10 September 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  29. ^ "CI Locations". Ci.noaa.gov. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  30. ^ "GOES-R Proving Ground Page". Goes-r.gov. 5 June 2015. Archived from the original on 5 February 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  31. ^ Braukus, Michael; Diller, George H. (5 April 2012). "NASA Awards Launch Contract For Goes-R And Goes-S Missions". NASA. Archived from the original on 26 November 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  32. ^ Lockheed Martin Completes Assembly of Next-Generation Weather Satellite Archived 12 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine.. 4 June 2015


External links[edit]