Weather satellite launch: Mission postponed


The new GOES-O satellite, which was to be launched June 26th at 5:14 p.m. CDT, saw its mission scrubbed due to thunderstorms in the area.

The odds that the weather will cooperate for another try Saturday are not great; NASA weather officers give odds of weather trouble at 60%.

It will lift off from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

The satellite will be the latest in a long series of weather satellite improvements dating back to the 1960s, when the first satellites went into orbit. “GOES” Is an acronym for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite.

“Geostationary” means that it remains in place over the same spot all of the time. To do this, the satellite must be boosted into a very high orbit of some 22,300 miles. As a comparison, the space shuttle and ISS orbit just a couple hundred miles above the earth!

Two of many notable improvements are the ability for the satellite to receive a wide variety of data from earth monitoring stations, many of them automated. By setting alarm trigger values for thousands of different locations, critical conditions can be quickly spotted at any monitored point across the nation.

Improved resolution in certain wavelength of the radiative spectrum will allow for easier detection of cloud heights, cloud movement and volcanic ash clouds.

This new “bird” will also carry a larger fuel supply for longer life, and a variety of space sensors. These will keep tabs on solar emissions, which can at times severely communications and electric power generation on planet Earth.

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