NASA, NOAA launching high-tech weather satellite from Space Coast to monitor severe weather

NASA and NOAA are taking weather forecasting to the next level with the GOES-U satellite, which will lift off from the Space Coast this week. 

The agencies are launching the fourth and final satellite to track Earth and space weather around the globe. 

Liftoff is set for 5:16 p.m. on Tuesday at Kennedy Space Center, Launch Complex 39A. 

The new satellite will focus on hurricanes, but it will also track all kinds of severe weather, including fog, fires, and even lightning. The big goal of the new technology is to get information out to forecasters sooner and faster, so they can issue warnings and save lives.

We see all kinds of wild weather in Florida, and NASA and NOAA want to prevent it by tracking it from space, more than 22,000 miles above the Earth's equator. 

"Having such instruments in space allows us to see it 24/7," said Elsayed Talaat, the NOAA’s Office of Space Weather Observations director. 


This advanced weather mission started in 2016, and the launch of the fourth and final GOES-U satellite on Tuesday will complete it.

The family of satellites will provide continuous coverage of the U.S., Central and South America, and the Eastern Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. 

"We're able to scan these big storms as frequently as every 30 seconds in order to get minute-to-minute warnings out to the public," said Dan Lindsey, the chief scientist for the GOES-R program. 

A new feature will also track lightning inside storms so researchers can study the impact.

"What does it mean when we have lightning in the eyewall? Does it mean the storm is stronger, strengthening, weakening or sort of remaining the same?," said Lindsey. 

The satellite won’t just monitor the weather conditions here on Earth. 

"NOAA’s satellites are the backbone of our country's plan to become a space weather-ready nation," added Talaat. 

That means monitoring the sun and solar flares because space storms can disrupt GPS systems, disable power grids, and interfere with cell phones on Earth.

"The quicker we can see that, the quicker we can get the data, the quicker we can get the warnings out, and it saves lives," said Ken Graham, the NOAA’s National Weather Service director. 

The satellites have a lifespan of 10 years and will be NASA and NOAA’s eyes on Earth before, during, and after weather wreaks havoc.