Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-S, (GOES-S), will be renamed GOES-17 when it reaches geostationary orbit. Once the satellite is declared operational late this year, it will occupy NOAA’s GOES-West position and provide faster, more accurate data for tracking wildfires, tropical cyclones, fog and other storm systems and hazards that threaten the western United States, Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, Central America and part of South America.


NOAA manages the GOES-R Series program through an integrated NOAA/NASA office and oversees the acquisition of the program ground system. NASA oversees the acquisition of the spacecraft, instruments and launch vehicles. Lockheed Martin Space of Littleton, Colorado, built the spacecraft and is responsible for spacecraft development, integration and testing.

The satellites provide advanced imaging with increased spatial resolution and faster coverage for more accurate forecasts, real-time mapping of lightning activity, and improved monitoring of solar activity and space weather.

GOES satellites are placed into a geosynchronous orbit which is an orbit that keeps the satellite over a specific location on the earth. By maintaining a position hovering over fixed point on the Earth’s surface, GOES are able to constantly monitor atmospheric conditions in a particular portion of the Earth’s atmosphere. Note that non-geosynchronous orbits (for example polar orbits) move over an ever rotating earth underneath them, therefore seeing a constantly changing view which has advantages for other types of missions.

Atlas V 541 rocket

The launch Thursday, March 1, of the second in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) series of next-generation geostationary weather satellites. NOAA’s GOES-S is scheduled to launch at 5:02 p.m. EST on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Countdown to launch webpage can be found at