The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officially named its first geostationary weather satellite GOES-16 nearly 10 days after it launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance-built Atlas V rocket on Nov. 19.
Lockheed Martin-built GOES-16, previously known as GOES-R, has started to move into its geostationary checkout orbit after the satellite fielded instruments and is scheduled to become operational within a year once it completes checkout and validation procedures, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.
NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan said GOES-16’s instruments will scan the Earth to help NOAA issue weather forecasts and warnings.
GOES-16 is designed to provide satellite imagery every 30 seconds in order to help predict thunderstorms, hurricanes and other severe weather events.
The satellite lifted off with six instrument payloads that include a lightning mapper designed to predict storms, space weather sensors and a transponder that works to detect distress signals.
GOES-16 is one of the four GOES-R series satellites that will work to provide geostationary coverage to NOAA through 2036 and will become part of the Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking system, an international satellite network that supports search-and-rescue missions.