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World''s most sophisticated weather satellite to launch shortly

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Artist image of NOAA’s GOES-S satellite

Colorado-based United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully launched an Atlas V 541 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 41 at 5:02 p.m. EST (22:02 GMT) on Thursday, March 1, 2018. GOES-S is the second satellite in the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-R series of satellites, which have played a vital role in weather forecasting, storm tracking and meteorological research.

A satellite scheduled for launch from Florida this week could give firefighters a new tool to fight the wildfires on the West Coast. 'It allows the researchers to see the dynamics in a way that just looking at numbers just doesn't reveal - the visual impact is remarkable'.

The new GOES weather satellites feature a suite of sophisticated instruments that meteorologists say represent a "quantum leap" for forecasting accuracy. The acronym stands for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite.

In addition to focusing on the western US, the satellite also will cover the eastern Pacific, eastern Australia and New Zealand, and much of South America once it finishes its testing phase and gets to its permanent location later this year, Weather.com reported. This is the 18th launch of a GOES since 1975; one was lost in an explosion during liftoff and all but three of the satellites already up there are retired. It also tracked the paths of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, providing crucial data as to which areas would be impacted the greatest. The new GOES-S will be at a vantage point to help analyze California's wildfires in more detail, as well.

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.

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After the satellite is deployed, it will spend about three weeks making its way into geostationary orbit.

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - Thursday, March 1, 4:30 p.m. - Coverage of GOES-S launch. The satellite will provide real-time weather reports on the western coast of the USA thereby extending the range where NOAA can track weather conditions.

NOAA funds, manages and plans to operate the GOES-R Series satellites.

The four-satellite GOES-R program has a total budget of $10.8 billion through its entire life cycle.

Two more are planned in this four-satellite series: GOES-T in 2020 and GOES-U in 2024.

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