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NASA and NOAA Watch Hurricane Season 2009 With Fresh Eyes
[Local News Anchor] This morning we're talking with Andre Dress a NASA/GOES Deputy Project Manager. Good morning Andre.
[Andre Dress] Good morning.
[Anchor] So the GOES satellites are an invaluable tool in tracking hurricanes and severe storms. Can you tell us more about this mission and the new GOES satellite you just recently launched?
[Dress] Sure, these are the nation's satellites and the GOES mission is really a joint effort between NASA, NOAA, and its contractors to build, launch, and put these satellites into operation. What you're seeing here was the launch of the GOES-14 satellite. NOAA likes to employ two satellites to cover the western hemisphere they orbit the Earth at about 22,000 miles above the Earth's surface. And they provide continuous products one right after another and those images are used to string to provide a moving video We did launch the GOES-14 satellite, as I just said, and we're very excited about that one, it's our best satellite yet and we're anxious to put it into operation.
[Anchor] So we've just passed the peak of this year's hurricane season, what has GOES been able to show us so far? Are there any new storms to keep our eyes on?
[Dress] Well NASA and NOAA have been predicting, I'll say, and average to really below average hurricane season this year and that's really what we're seeing right now. In the Pacific region it's a little more active, in the Atlantic region we did have one nice sized hurricane which was Hurricane Bill, which these images are. And you're really seeing the power of the GOES spacecraft and actually in combination with other spacecraft. to take a good look into the insides of these storms and the make up and to really see how they form and these satellites really have the ability to track these hurricanes and predict where they will hit landfall.
[Anchor] So these satellites bring us incredible pictures every single day. Why is it so important to have these daily images?
[Dress] Well if you think about it, the GOES satellite is orbiting at about 22,000 miles above the surface and that's what we call a "geosychronous" orbit. From that perspective we really have the ability to take the same images over the Earth. It's like standing there and staring straight at the Earth and seeing the same spot on the Earth all the time. We can really take those images, string them together, and really have the ability to track storms. The images you just saw there were a movie loop from taking image after image, frame after frame, contiguous. And these images are provided to the American public in real time. Most of the American public really doesn't know, but they see these images every day when they actually go home, turn on the TV, and watch the weather forecast that are coming from the GOES satellite.
[Anchor] So the GOES satellites have been in use since 1975. What do you still hope to learn with the new satellite you've just launched?
[Dress] Well in the past 30 plus years we really have made great strides, leaps and bounds, if you take a look at this image right here, you'll see the image bouncing around a little bit. That's primarily from the spacecraft moving. Those images were from the late 60s. Contrast that with what we're seeing today with these satellites. We have the ability to take frame after frame, and what you're seeing here is not just seconds worth of data but hours, days, weeks, months, all put together to string to really make a nice picture here of what the Earth is really showing us. It's really a beautiful image, really kind of shows how alive the Earth is.
[Anchor] So where can we go to learn more about hurricanes and the GOES mission?
[Dress] Well it's all really at your finger tips on the internet. The best place to go is to your favorite search engine and search out GOES. But you can go right to these websites: www.hurricanes.gov or www.nasa.gov/hurricane
[Anchor] Great! Thank you Andre!
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