CAPE CANAVERAL, FL (WVNS) — On March 1, 2022, the third of a planned four, next generation weather satellites in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations (NOAA) GOES series will launch into orbit on an ATLAS-V rocket from Cape Canaveral.

The satellite, called GOES-T until it becomes operational, is set to replace the malfunctioning GOES-17 (formerly GOES-S) satellite which currently covers the west coast of North America and much of the Pacific Ocean. The new satellite will provide better and more consistent data than it’s malfunctioning counterpart, which will improve the data flowing into weather models used by meteorologists across the globe. Including right here in West Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic.

GOES-T being unloaded from C-5M Super Galaxy cargo plane at the Kennedy Space Center
The GOES-T satellite is unloaded from the C-5 Super Galaxy cargo aircraft that flew it to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Nov. 10, 2021. Credit: Dan Lindsey

After launch, GOES-T will enter a geo-stationary orbit, meaning it will remain in orbit over the same spot on earth, and undergo testing of its instruments to make sure it is functioning properly before being declared operational. Once deemed fit for service, GOES-T becomes “GOES-18/GOES-WEST”, while the previous satellite to hold the GOES-WEST title will be sent into a different orbit acting as a back-up if needed.

The final satellite in this generation of GOES will be GOES-U, set to launch in 2024, will be kept in storage in orbit until needed and is expected to extend the lifetime of this generation of satellites through at least 2036.

Courtesy: NOAA/Department of Commerce

You can tune into the launch on NASA TV via NASA’s YouTube channel or on the GOES-T mission page. The launch window opens at 4:38 pm EST on March 1, and will be open for two hours.