NASA Podcasts

All About GOES
02.22.10
 
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[Kathleen McIntyre] The GOES satellites are really a national treasure.

[Andre Dress] These satellites are providing a huge service and they provide the safety net for people so that they get out of harms way. When I think of GOES, it's not just a weather satellite.

[Dr. Howard J. Singer] The GOES satellites provide us very critical data for space weather.

[Paul Richards] That's very critical and very important for astronauts because we are not protected from Earth's atmosphere from the space weather.

[Andre Dress] One of the big things is Search and Rescue.

[Mickey Fitzmaurice] The GOES satellites save lives not just through search and rescue distress alert but with real-time monitoring of severe weather events.

[dramatic music]

[Andre Dress] Well, GOES-P is the last in the series.

[Kathleen McIntyre] We want to make sure that we have the capability on orbit for continuous weather monitoring for this country.

[Andre Dress] So GOES-P will be important to be a spare satellite.

[Kathleen McIntyre] The first GOES satellite was launched in 1975 and it was called GOES-A. It was the first time we actually saw an image of what the weather was creating on Earth.

[Andre Dress] They were satellites we called spinners. The instrument that was on it actually rotated with the satellite so it took a long time to actually get the images from the Earth.

[Tom Fields] The next generation, which was the previous one to the current generation, I through M, was the first series that was 3-axis stabilized, which meant it actually sat and pointed at the Earth as supposed to spinning and having to take images while it's spinning.

[Kathleen McIntyre] So we were able to continuously monitor weather.

[music]

[Andre Dress] We jumped to a 3-axis stabilized spacecraft.

[Mickey Fitzmaurice] The next generation is always better than the previous generation. GOES-P will be the best of the lot.

[Andre Dress] The spacecraft has the ability to be very very stable.

[Tom Fields] Our images; our data is used real-time. Real-time we have to be able to calibrate and know that when we look at that . image, where exactly is that point on the Earth's surface.

[Andre Dress] When we have a huge hurricane, we want to have an accurate prediction. If it's off by kilometers or miles, you've got people in harms way that you didn't think were going to be in harms way.

[Jolyn Russell] So when the spacecraft is sitting in space, it's looking down at the Earth and it stays stationary like this but this solar array out here moves and tracks the sun so that way it's always looking at the sun and can take a scan every minute.

[Paul Richards] Different phenomenon from the sun is constantly bombarding the Earth. Although you might not know it, the solar weather affects you every day down here as well, not only just astronauts, it affects people on Earth.

[Janet Green] Space weather can affect the power grid. It can affect communication with planes, it can cause errors in GPS, it can damage satellites.

[Dr. Howard J. Singer] That whole series of satellites, GOES N-O-P, has some new capabilities for us in space weather. This is data that arrives almost instantaneously and therefore allows us to provide very timely alerts and warnings.

[Mickey Fitzmaurice] The search and rescue system is another valuable tool for these satellites. In many cases one or two bursts from a beacon saves a person's life.

[Paul Richards] GOES satellites are operational satellites, meaning they are not experimental, they are constantly up there so it is constantly giving us data with no gaps in the data coming to us.

[Andre Dress] In the future, we are going to get better resolution and not only that but faster images. We can start getting images on the order of 5 minutes as supposed to 26 minutes it takes to get a full Earth disk for the GOES N-O-P version. So, quicker images, better resolution, better information, save lives.

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