Before Hurricane Harvey ravaged Texas in the fall of 2017, meteorologists could see the monster storm approaching through the technology of the latest generation of weather satellite.
As a result, numerous South Texas residents knew when it was safe to flee from the storm according to NOAA.
"Down in Corpus Christi, they were monitoring the exact location of the eye and the most intense winds and were able to move 200 people out of harm's way just by following the rapidly refreshing imagery and noting the safe time periods when they would be able to exit the area," says Matt Seybold, GOES-R Data Operations Manager and Product Readiness & Operations Lead.
Unprecedented rapid-refresh updates of the storm's exact location were possible because new pictures of Hurricane Harvey were captured and transmitted every 60 seconds.
That's a big leap. For much of the past twenty years, we've only received new satellite images once every 15 to 30 minutes.
Imagery like we have never seen before would be beamed back from 22 thousand miles above planet Earth from GOES-R.
After becoming operational in late 2017, the spacecraft originally called GOES-R was renamed GOES East, with a view over the East Coast and Atlantic.
The new GOES-S satellite, scheduled to launch on Thursday, March 1st, will take a perch high over the West Coast and Pacific Ocean, giving forecasters a complete view of weather systems impacting North America.
The GOES program is a partnership between the U.S. space agency, NASA, and weather agency, NOAA.