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Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites I-M (GOES I-M)

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Status: Current
Mission Category: Inter-Agency Partnerships
Launch Date: April 13, 1994
Launch Location: Cape Canaveral, FL

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites I-M (GOES I-M) are the primary element of U.S. weather monitoring and forecast operations and are a key component of NOAA’s National Weather Service operations and modernization program. Spacecraft and ground-based systems work together to accomplish the mission of providing weather imagery and quantitative sounding data that form a continuous and reliable stream of environmental information used for weather forecasting and related services.

Designed to operate in a geosynchronous orbit at 35,790 (22,240 statute miles) above the Earth, the advanced GOES I-M satellites continuously view the continental United States, neighboring environs of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and Central and South America. The three-axis, body-stabilized spacecraft design enables the sensors to “stare” at the earth and image clouds more frequently, monitor earth’s surface temperature and water vapor fields, and sound the atmosphere for its vertical thermal and vapor structures. The GOES I-M satellites follow the evolution of atmospheric phenomena to ensure real-time coverage of short-lived dynamic events like severe local storms and tropical cyclones. These meteorological events directly affect public safety, property, and economic health and development. The importance of this capability has recently been exemplified during hurricanes Hugo (1989) and Andrew (1992).

The GOES I-M series of satellites has provided significant improvements over previous GOES systems in weather imagery and atmospheric sounding information, particularly in the forecasting of life- and property-threatening severe storms.

The GOES I-M satellites introduced two new features. The first feature, flexible scan, offers small-scale area imaging that lets meteorologists take pictures of local weather trouble spots. This allows them to improve short-term forecasts over local areas. The second feature, simultaneous and independent imaging and sounding, is designed to allow weather forecasters to use multiple measurements of weather phenomena to increase the accuracy of their forecasts.

The first of the current series, GOES-I, was launched on April 13, 1994. After nearly 8 years of operational service, GOES-I was deorbited on April 1, 2003. The latest satellite in this series, GOES-M, was launched on July 22, 2001.

Key Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites I-M Facts

Mission/Portal Page:
Instruments: GOES I-M Imager
GOES I-M Sounder
SXI (Solar X-Ray Imager)
Project Scientist(s): Dennis Chesters

Relevant Science Focus Areas:

  • Climate Variability and Chang
  • Weather

Relevant Science Questions:

  • How is the global Earth system changing?

Related Applications:

  • Weather Prediction