The GOES-S satellite thundered toward orbit aboard an Atlas V rocket, slicing through a hazy late afternoon sky.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 revolutionising 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 it reaches its intended 22,000-mile-high orbit over the equator in a few weeks, and should be officially operational by year’s end.“We can’t wait!” tweeted the National Weather Service in Anchorage just before the rocket soared from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.The weather service’s Jim Yoe said on NASA TV that he was “really excited” to see his first launch in person.“I’m even more excited about the work that’s coming up for me and my colleagues, putting these new data to work for better forecasts and warnings for the American public,” said Mr. Yoe, an official at the Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation.With these two new satellites, NOAA’s high-definition coverage will stretch from the Atlantic near West Africa, a hotbed for hurricane formation, all the way across the U.S. and the Pacific out to New Zealand.