Spacecraft and Instruments


    GOES N-P is the next series of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES). The multi-mission GOES series N-P will be a vital contributor to weather, solar, and space operations and science. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are actively engaged in a cooperative program to expand the existing GOES system with the launch of the GOES N-P satellites.

    The Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. is responsible for procuring, developing, and testing the spacecraft, instruments and unique ground equipment. NOAA is responsible for overall program, funding, system in-orbit operation, and determining satellite replacement needs.

    The GOES N-P series will aid activities ranging from severe storm warnings to resource management and advances in science. GOES N-P data will add to the global community of knowledge, embracing many civil and government environmental forecasting organizations that work to benefit people everywhere and help save lives.

    GOES N-P represents the next generation of GOES satellites. A highly advanced attitude control system fosters enhanced instrument performance for improved weather service quality. NASA and NOAA have set a high standard of accuracy for GOES N-P, including data pixel location to two kilometers from geosynchronous orbit.

    Click on any image for more detail.

    Some of the new top-level capabilities include:

    • A digital Low Rate Information Transmission (LRIT) formatted Weather Facsimile (WEFAX) service
    • Expanded measurements for the Space Environment Monitor (SEM) instruments
    • A new dedicated channel for the Emergency Managers Weather Information Network (EMWIN) service
    • A more stable platform for supporting improved Imager, Sounder, and SXI instruments


    GOES-O Imager

    The GOES Imager is a multi-channel instrument designed to sense radiant and solar-reflected energy from sampled areas of the Earth. The multi-element spectral channels simultaneously sweep east-west and west-east along a north-to-south path by means of a two-axis mirror scan system. The instrument can produce full-Earth disc images, sector images that contain the edges of the Earth, and various sizes of area scans completely enclosed within the Earth scene using a flexible scan system. Scan selection permits rapid continuous viewing of local areas for monitoring of mesoscale (regional) phenomena and accurate wind determination.

    GOES-O Sounder
    The GOES Sounder is a 19-channel discrete-filter radiometer covering the spectral range from the visible channel wavelengths to 15 microns. It is designed to provide data from which atmospheric temperature and moisture profiles, surface and cloud-top temperatures, and ozone distribution can be deduced by mathematical analysis. It operates independently of and simultaneously with the Imager, using a similarly flexible scan system. The Sounder's multi-element detector array assemblies simultaneously sample four separate fields or atmospheric columns. A rotating filter wheel, which brings spectral filters into the optical path of the detector array, provides the infrared channel definition.

    GOES-O Space Environment Monitor
    The Space Environment Monitor (SEM) consists of three instrument groups: 1) an energetic particle sensor (EPS) package, 2) two magnetometer sensors, and 3) a solar x-ray sensor (XRS). Operating at all times, the SEM provides real-time data to the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) in Boulder, Colorado. The SWPC, as the nation’s "space weather" center, receives, monitors, and interprets a wide variety of solar terrestrial data and issues reports, alerts, warnings, and forecasts for special events such as solar flares and geomagnetic storms. This information is important for military and civilian radio communication, satellite communication and navigation systems, electric power networks, geophysical exploration, Shuttle and Space Station astronauts, high-altitude aviators, commercial airlines especially those using north polar routes, and scientific researchers.

    The EPS accurately measures the number of particles over a broad energy range, including protons, electrons, and alpha particles, and are the basis for operational alerts and warnings of hazardous conditions. Energetic particles pose a risk to satellites and to astronauts, and they can disrupt navigation and communications systems used on the ground and in aircraft.

    The magnetometer sensors can operate independently and simultaneously to measure the magnitude and direction of the Earth’s geomagnetic field, detect variations in the magnetic field near the spacecraft, provide alerts of solar wind shocks or sudden impulses that impact the magnetosphere, and assess the level of geomagnetic activity. The second magnetometer sensor serves as a backup in case the first magnetometer sensor fails and provides for better calibration of the magnetometer data channel.

    The XRS is an x-ray telescope that observes and measures solar x-ray emissions in two ranges—one from 0.05 to 0.3 nanometers (nm) and the second from 0.1 to 0.8 nm. In real-time, it measures the intensity and duration of solar flares in order to provide alerts and warnings of potential geophysical responses, such as changes in ionospheric conditions that can disrupt radio communications and Global Positioning System (GPS) signals.

    The five-channel EUV telescope is new on the GOES-NO/P/Q satellites. It measures solar extreme ultraviolet energy in five wavelength bands from 10 nm to 126 nm. The EUV sensor provides a direct measure of the solar energy that heats the upper atmosphere and creates the ionosphere. For GOES-O only, the EUV has the 60 nm and 80 nm wavelength bands deleted and the 10 nm and 30 nm wavelength bands are redundant.

    GOES-O Solar X-Ray Imager
    The Solar X-Ray Imager (SXI) is essentially a soft X-ray telescope that is used to monitor solar conditions and activity. Every minute the SXI captures an image of the sun's atmosphere in X-rays, providing space weather forecasters with the necessary information in order to determine when to issue forecasts and alerts of conditions that may harm space and ground systems.