GOES-T launch is coming up soon!

GOES-17 satellite artist image
GOES-T is expected to become the new GOES-WEST, and replace the problematic GOES-17 next year. Image credit: NOAA

With the Olympics, COVID and politics going on, an important moment for observational meteorology is weeks away from happening, and being overshadowed by world events. Nevertheless, it’s of great importance to satellite meteorology! Here’s what’s about to happen, if all goes well…

The current GOES-WEST satellite, GOES-17, generally covers the western U.S., Alaska and Hawaii, westward to New Zealand. But it has a serious design flaw: the cooling system can’t keep the satellite cool during periods of intense, direct sunlight around the equinoxes. As a result, the satellite imager overheats, and infrared images are lost for several hours at night. Engineers have tried to work around the issue with some success, but it still leaves us without a western U.S. and Pacific satellite covering critical weather systems 24/7/365. (1)

GOES-T is currently planned to be launched from Kennedy Space Center at 4:38 PM EST on March 1 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on mission SLC-41 with a Delta V rocket doing the honors of launching the satellite into orbit. It’s expected to undergo a normal period of testing, and then officially replace GOES-17 as the official GOES-WEST satellite. When that happens, the new satellite will be renamed GOES-18. (2) (3)

Of course, one will ask if there are any improvements of GOES-T/GOES-18 vs. GOES-17. The answer is simple: to the imager, lightning mapper, etc…the answer is no. The exception is with the magnometer. Measuring space weather conditions will get a big boost in reliability and accuracy with this satellite. In fact, this is THE big upgrade for the new satellite, besides the redesign of the onboard cooling system. Space weather scientists will be very happy with this new “bird”, keeping watch over the sun and it’s output with considerably better reliability than GOES-16 and GOES-17! (4)

Once commissioned sometime in May 2022 as GOES-18, it has a rated 15 year life span from that point. There is a chance that it might extend beyond 2037, depending on how well the satellite is performing. Of course, AllisonHouse is expected to carry that data as soon as we are able. GOES-17 will then go into storage, in case it is needed in an emergency. (4)

Stay tuned, and we’ll have updates after the launch occurs on or about March 1!


(1) https://www.goes-r.gov/users/GOES-17-ABI-Performance.html
(2) https://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/next-generation/goes-t-launch
(3) https://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/launches-and-events/events-calendar/2022/march/rocket-launch-ula-atlas-v-goes-t
(4) https://www-live.goesr.woc.noaa.gov/featureStories/goesT_UndergoesTestingToSimulateLaunch.html


  1. Nathan Parker's Gravatar Nathan Parker
    March 1, 2022 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Some of your older blog posts on here (about no warnings being issued and SlepIng radars) have been replaced with non-weather articles. Someone might have compromised a few of your blog posts.

    Also, is there a way to follow the blog via RSS?

    • March 1, 2022 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the heads up.

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