GOES-S, soon to be GOES-17 later this year, takes off from Cape Canaveral, FL. Video still courtesy NASA-TV.

On March 1, 2018 at 5:02 PM ET, an Atlas-5 rocket lifted off with GOES-S, soon to be GOES-17 (or GOES-WEST once it is in orbit and it is declared operational. As I type this, everything seems to be going well as of 8 PM ET, March 1. With the apparent success of the launch, people are already asking questions. Let’s see how many I can answer:

Q: Is GOES-17 going to provide the same products as GOES-16?
A: Yes! In fact, they are mirror satellites; everything in each of them is identical. Same sensors, resolution, products, etc. What you get from GOES-16, you will have from GOES-17.

Q: I want GOES-17 data NOW!
A: You’ll have to wait, but not for too long. First, the engineers have to get the satellite into a proper, stable orbit, and then they have to “unpack” the satellite in space (no, not like cardboard boxes that you let your cats go nuts with!). The first image is expected to arrive in May. Then, after some more checking out of sensors and equipment, we’ll see the imagery on an EXPERIMENTAL, NON-OPERATIONAL basis (remember that lovely wording? It’s back!) later this summer and fall for several months, and then, if all is well, it will be commissioned. Until then, patience, please.

Q: Will AllisonHouse carry GOES-17 data?
A: You bet! As soon as we get our hands on it, we will have as many products as we are able.

Q: Will it all be in near real-time to us like GOES-16 is?
A: Yes! As soon as we have it reliably, you will have it.

Q: What will be the “footprint”, or coverage area, of GOES-17?
A: West to New Zealand, and east covering much of the Pacific, and all of the U.S. and Western Hemisphere with 15 minute imagery; for the U.S. , it updates every 5 minutes. If you are a storm spotter or chaser west of, let’s say, a latitude of Amarillo, TX, you should probably use GOES-17 when it is available. Of course, it will also have two 1-minute “mesoscale” sectors, just like GOES-16 does.

Q: How much will it cost to get it?
A: If you want the full GOES experience, there’s no doubt about it: subscribe to AllisonHouse Maps. We will carry everything on Maps first.
Then, our other integrated software partners will get subsets of the data next. See our pricing page for our “Storm Hunter” package, which includes
Maps: https://www.allisonhouse.com/pages/pricing .

Q: How do I get to be the video camera operator that got that shot, so I can have my feet in the ocean as the rocket goes up?
A: You must be able to climb down a live volcano to take readings without getting hurt, and sneeze with your eyes open.

Do you have a question? I’ll do my best to get you an answer! Just reply to this thread.

Edit: GOES-16 (GOES-EAST, the twin of GOES-17, caught the launch!)


  1. Antonio M's Gravatar Antonio M
    March 5, 2018 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    A couple questions…

    1. When will GOES-S become operational
    2. When will it start testing?
    3. When will we get the first images?

    Thank you!!

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