NASA launched another of the world’s most advanced weather satellites on Thursday, this time to safeguard the western U.S.
The GOES-S satellite thundered toward orbit aboard an Atlas V rocket, slicing through a hazy late afternoon sky. Dozens of meteorologists gathered for the launch, including TV crews from the Weather Channel and WeatherNation.
GOES-S is the second satellite in an approximately $11 billion effort that’s already revolutionizing forecasting with astonishingly fast, crisp images of hurricanes, wildfires, floods, mudslides and other natural calamities.
The first spacecraft in the series, GOES-16, has been monitoring the Atlantic and East Coast for the past year for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration . The same first-class service is now coming to the Pacific region.
Besides the West Coast, Alaska and Hawaii, GOES-S also will keep watch over Mexico and Central America. It will become GOES-17 once reaching its intended 22,000-mile-high orbit over the equator in a few weeks, and should be officially operational by year’s end.