Published: Sun, March 04, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Atlas V rocket scheduled to launch today

Atlas V rocket scheduled to launch today

An Atlas V rocket launch is scheduled Thursday evening from Cape Canaveral that will send a new weather satellite into orbit.

The satellite will upgrade data related to wind patterns, high-definition imagery and other forecast tools, giving the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration more powerful tools.

Geostationary means the satellite's orbit is in sync with the rotation of the earth, so it stays hovering over one spot of the planet.

The first satellite of the GOES series was launched in 1975, and since they are the main source of meteorological observations of the United States.

There's a new satellite in space that's helping NASA and weather forecasters gather data on daily weather patterns, storms and wildfires.

Once GOES S is positioned in a Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) 22,300 miles above Earth in approximately two weeks, it will be renamed GOES 17.

These early successes prompted National Weather Service director Louis Uccellini to declare that GOES-16's services were "better than we expected" while at the launch for its high-tech partner satellite.

GOES-S mission managers confirmed that its solar arrays successfully deployed at 8:58 p.m. EST and the spacecraft was operating on its own power. Once the satellite is fully operational, later this year, it will hover over the western US and provide faster, more accurate data for tracking wildfires, tropical cyclones, fog and other storm systems and hazards that threaten the western United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, NASA said. NASA's Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center is responsible for launch management.

A weather instrument called Geostationary Lightning Mapper, built by Lockheed Martin, will also monitor all lightning strikes over North America and the nearby oceans. Meteorologists can also receive updates every 30 seconds, giving incredible access to the team about severe weather forecasting.

The current GOES-East satellite launched in 2016, and it has provided views of developing weather in unprecedented detail. Development began in 2005, and the program will extend through 2036. This enables spacecraft designers to dedicate more mass to the satellite's mission, such as data collection or communications.

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