Geostationary Environmental Operational Satellites - R Series
Agency overview
Headquarters Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD
Agency executive Gregory Mandt, System Program Director
Parent agency NOAA, NASA
Website .gov.goes-rwww

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite - R Series (GOES-R) is the next generation of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. GOES-R is scheduled for launch in early 2016. The GOES-R series of satellites (GOES-R, S, T, & U) will extend the availability of the operational GOES satellite system through 2036.[1]

Technological Improvements

GOES-R will offer advanced imaging for more accurate forecasts, real-time mapping of lightning activity, and improved monitoring of solar activity.

GOES-R will mark the first major technological advances in geostationary observations since 1994.[2]

Compared to the current GOES system, the advanced instruments and data processing will provide:

Space Segment

The GOES-R Space Segment comprises the spacecraft bus, instruments, auxiliary communications payloads, and the Launch Vehicle (LV). The instrument suite consists of Earth sensing, solar imaging, and space environment measurement payloads. The auxiliary communications payloads contain the antennae, transmitters, receivers, and transponders to relay processed imagery data and provide the auxiliary communications services.


GOES-R Spacecraft

The GOES-R spacecraft bus will be 3-axis stabilized and designed for 10 years of on-orbit operation preceded by up to 5 years of on-orbit storage. The satellite will provide near-continuous instrument observations as well as vibration isolation for the Earth-pointed optical bench and high-speed spacecraft-to-instrument interfaces designed to maximize science data collection. The cumulative time that GOES-R science data collection (including imaging) will be interrupted due to all momentum management, station-keeping, and yaw flip maneuvers will be under 120 minutes/year. This is a nearly two orders of magnitude improvement compared to the current GOES satellites. The spacecraft will carry three classifications of instruments: nadir-pointing, solar-pointing, and in-situ.[4]

Launch Vehicle

Atlas V 541 expendable launch vehicle

The GOES-R spacecraft will launch aboard an Atlas V 541 expendable launch vehicle from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.[5] The term expendable launch vehicle means each vehicle is used only once. The three numbers in the 541 designation signify a payload fairing, or nose cone, that is approximately 5 meters (16.4 feet) in diameter; four solid-rocket boosters fastened alongside the central common core booster; and a one-engine Centaur upper stage.


The GOES-R instrument suite includes three types of instruments: Earth sensing, solar imaging, and space environment measuring.

Two instruments point toward Earth:

ABI Prototype Model

Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI): The Advanced Baseline Imager is the primary instrument on GOES-R for imaging Earth’s weather, climate, and environment. ABI will be able to view the Earth with 16 different spectral bands, including two visible channels, four near-infrared channels, and ten infrared channels. It will provide three times more spectral information, four times the spatial resolution, and more than five times faster coverage than the current system. Forecasters will be able to use the higher resolution images to track the development of storms in their early stages.[6]

Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM): Studies show that a sudden increase in Total Lightning Activity—or flash rate—correlates with impending tornadoes and severe storms.[7]

GLM Engineering Development Unit

The GOES-R Geostationary Lightning Mapper will take continuous day and night measurements of the frequent intra-cloud lightning that accompanies many severe storms, and will do so even when the high-level cirrus clouds atop mature thunderstorms may obscure the underlying convection from the imager. Research and testing has demonstrated the GLM potential for improvement in tornado warning lead time and false alarm rate reduction.[8] It is anticipated that GLM data will have applications to aviation weather services, climatological studies, and severe thunderstorm forecasts and warnings. The GLM will provide information to identify growing, active, and potentially destructive thunderstorms over land as well as ocean areas.[9]

Two instruments point toward the Sun:

Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI): Solar Ultraviolet Imager is a telescope that observes the Sun in the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) wavelength range. SUVI will observe and characterize complex active regions of the Sun, solar flares, and the eruptions of solar filaments which may give rise to coronal mass ejections. Depending on the size and the trajectory of solar eruptions, the possible effects to the Earth’s environment, referred to as space weather, include the disruption of power utilities, communication and navigation systems, and possible damage to orbiting satellites and the International Space Station. SUVI observations of flares and solar eruptions will provide an early warning of possible impacts to the Earth environment and enable better forecasting of potentially disruptive events.[10]
Simulated GOES-R Solar Ultraviolet Imager image

Extreme Ultra Violet (EUVS) / X-Ray Irradiance Sensors (EXIS): The Extreme Ultraviolet and X-Ray Irradiance Sensors detect solar soft X-ray irradiance and solar extreme ultraviolet spectral irradiance in the 5-127 nm range. The X-Ray Sensor (XRS) monitors solar flares that can disrupt communications and degrade navigational accuracy, affecting satellites, astronauts, high latitude airline passengers, and power grid performance. The Extreme Ultraviolet Sensor monitors solar variations that directly affect satellite drag/tracking and ionospheric changes, which impact communications and navigation operations. This information is critical to understanding the outer layers of the Earth’s atmosphere.[11]

Two in-situ instruments will monitor their own space environment:

Space Environment In-Situ Suite (SEISS): The Space Environment In-Situ Suite will consist of an array of sensors that will monitor the proton, electron, and heavy ion fluxes at geosynchronous orbit. The information provided by the SEISS will be used for assessing radiation hazards to astronauts and satellites. In addition to hazard assessment, the information from the SEISS can be used to warn of high flux events, mitigating damage to radio communication. The SEISS instrument suite consists of the Energetic Heavy Ion Sensor (EHIS), the Magnetospheric Particle Sensor - High and Low (MPS-HI and MPS-LO), and the Solar and Galactic Proton Sensor (SGPS). Data from SEISS will drive the solar radiation storm portion of NOAA space weather scales and other alerts and warnings and will improve solar energetic particle forecasts.[12]

Magnetometer (MAG): The GOES-R Magnetometer will provide measurements of the space environment magnetic field that controls charged particle dynamics in the outer region of the magnetosphere. These particles can be dangerous to spacecraft and human spaceflight. The geomagnetic field measurements will provide alerts and warnings to satellite operators and power utilities. GOES-R Magnetometer data will also be used in research. The GOES-R Magnetometer products will be part of NOAA space weather operations, providing information on the general level of geomagnetic activity and permitting detection of sudden magnetic storms. In addition, measurements will be used to validate large-scale space environment models that are used in operations.[13]

Unique Payload Services (UPS)

The GOES-R Unique Payload Services consist of transponder payloads providing communications relay services in addition to the primary mission data. The UPS suite consists of the Data Collection System (DCS), the High Rate Information Transmission/Emergency Managers Weather Information Network (HRIT/EMWIN), GOES-R Rebroadcast (GRB), and the Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking (SARSAT) System.

GOES-R Rebroadcast (GRB) is the primary space relay of Level 1b products and will replace the GOES VARiable (GVAR) service. GRB will provide full resolution, calibrated, navigated, near-real-time direct broadcast data. The content of the data distributed via GRB service will be the full set of Level 1b products from all instruments on board the GOES-R series spacecraft. This concept for GRB is based on analysis that a dual-pole circularly polarized L-band link of 12 MHz bandwidth may support up to a 31-megabits per second (Mbps) data rate – enough to include all ABI channels in a lossless compressed format as well as data from GLM, SUVI, EXIS, SEISS, and MAG.[14]

SARSAT System Overview

The Data Collection System (DCS) is a relay system used to collect information from a large number of Earth-based platforms that transmit in-situ environmental sensor data on predefined frequencies and schedules, in response to thresholds in sensed conditions, or in response to interrogation signals. Enhancements to the DCS program during the GOES-R era include expansion in the total number of user-platform channels from 266 to 433.[15]

The Emergency Managers Weather Information Network (EMWIN) is a direct service that provides users with weather forecasts, warnings, graphics, and other information directly from the National Weather Service in near-real time. The GOES EMWIN relay service is one of a suite of methods to obtain these data and display the products on the user’s personal computer. The HRIT service provides broadcast of low-resolution GOES satellite imagery data and selected products to remotely located user HRIT terminals.[16]

As an integral part of the international search and rescue satellite program called COSPAS-SARSAT, NOAA operates the Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking (SARSAT) System to detect and locate mariners, aviators, and other recreational users in distress almost anywhere in the world at anytime and in almost any condition. This system uses a network of satellites to quickly detect and locate distress signals from emergency beacons onboard aircraft, vessels, and from handheld personal locator beacons called PLBs. The SARSAT transponder that will be carried on board the GOES-R satellite will provide the capability to immediately detect distress signals from emergency beacons and relay them to ground stations - called Local User Terminals. In turn, this signal is routed to a SARSAT Mission Control Center and then sent to a Rescue Coordination Center which dispatches a search and rescue team to the location of the distress.[17]

Ground System

NOAA Satellite Operations Facility, Suitland, MD
Wallops Command and Data Acquisition Station, Wallops Island, VA
NOAA Remote Backup Facility, Fairmont, WV

NOAA is developing a ground system that will receive data from the GOES-R spacecraft and generate and distribute real-time GOES-R data products. The GOES-R Ground System (GS) will receive the raw data from GOES-R series spacecraft and generate Level 1b and Level 2+ products.[18] The GS will also make these products available to users in a timely manner consistent with the GOES-R latency requirements. Level 1b data from each instrument and Level 2 data from the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) will be distributed to direct readout users with antenna receivers by means of spacecraft relay as GOES Rebroadcast (GRB). Level 1b and L2+ products will be provided to the Product Distribution and Access (PDA) system for users, including the Data Archive Centers (CLASS). The key functions of the GS are:

  • Mission Management (MM): encompasses all operational functions of the spacecraft and instruments operations and health and safety.
  • Product Generation (PG): generates all of the Level 0 and higher products from GOES-R raw data.
  • Product Distribution (PD): distributes the GOES-R products created by the PG function through a variety of means.
  • Enterprise Management/Infrastructure (EM/IS): supports MM, PG, and PD by monitoring, assessing, and controlling the configuration of the operational systems, networks, and communications for the GOES-R GS, as well as providing common infrastructure and services.

The Ground System will operate from the following locations:

  • NOAA Satellite Operations Facility (NSOF): Located in Suitland, MD, the NSOF will house the majority of GOES-R mission operations. The EM, PG, and PD functions will be performed here. The majority of operations and product staff will also be housed at NSOF. Four existing 9.1-meter antennas will be upgraded for compatibility with GOES-R. These antennas will maintain compatibility with existing GOES satellites and will operate continuously for the life of the GOES-R series.
  • Wallops Command and Data Acquisition Station (WCDAS): Located in Wallops, VA, the WCDAS will be the primary site for space-to-ground radio frequency (RF) communications. Level 1b data will be processed at WCDAS to produce GOES Rebroadcast (GRB) for satellite uplink. WCDAS will also provide uplink to the satellites to support the Unique Payload Services (UPS). Three new 16.4-meter antennas will be constructed at WCDAS. They are designed to withstand sustained winds of 110 mph (Category 2 hurricane) and to survive (in a stowed position) gusts of up to 150 mph (Category 4 hurricane). These antennas will be compatible with existing GOES satellites and will operate continuously for the life of the GOES-R series.
  • Remote Backup (RBU) Facility: Located in Fairmont, WV, the primary function of the RBU will be to support contingency operations and perform all of the critical functions of NSOF and WCDAS through the production and distribution of life and property products. The RBU will provide product generation for all Key Performance Parameters (KPPs). The RBU will also serve as a backup during system/equipment testing or maintenance. Three new 16.4-meter antennas will be constructed at the RBU. They are designed to withstand sustained winds of 110 mph (Category 2 hurricane) and survive (in a stowed position) gusts of up to 150 mph (Category 4 hurricane). These antennas will be compatible with existing GOES satellites and will operate continuously for the life of the GOES-R series.

Algorithm Development

The mission of the Algorithm Working Group (AWG) is to develop, test, demonstrate, validate, and provide algorithms for end-to-end GOES-R Ground Segment capabilities, provide sustained life cycle calibration/validation and product algorithm enhancements, and to ensure user readiness of GOES-R data and derived products. The AWG will provide oversight of the schedules, activities, and budget expenditures needed for an integrated program of algorithm activities that span the entire lifecycle of the GOES-R program.

Systems Engineering

The GOES-R Program Systems Engineering (PSE) integrates the Ground Segment (GS) and Space Segment (SS), ensuring that all development activities (including spacecraft, instruments, launch services, ground systems, antennas and products) are sufficiently incorporated to ensure mission success. Key functions of GOES-R System Engineering include: mission objectives, concept of operations development, mission architecture and design development, requirements identification and management, verification and validation, risk management, resource budgets, technical authority, image navigation and registration, modeling and simulation, and trade studies.[19]

User Community

The GOES-R program is working to prepare the satellite data user community for the new types of imagery and data that will be available from the GOES-R satellite series. Users are defined as the individuals, companies, and institutions that will use the GOES-R Level 1b (L1b), Level 2, and higher-level (L2+) products to perform their meteorological functions.

The diversity of the GOES-R user community is reflected in the wide variety and applications of GOES-R data and products. Larger, institutional users can exploit the increases in spectral, temporal, and spatial resolution and assimilate radiances for use in prediction models, increasing the timeliness and accuracy of forecast products. GOES-R data will be used in real time for life and property forecasting and warning applications primarily by the National Weather Service, where these users will be able to monitor the rapid development and interaction of severe storms. Other smaller public and private sector users will be able to obtain GOES-R data through their own Earth stations, or through terrestrial network distribution.[20]

Cooperative Institutes

GOES-R Cooperative Institutes

Cooperative Institutes (CIs) are non-federal academic and non-profit research institutions supported by NOAA that provide resources to the agency's mission, goals, and strategic plans.[21]

There are eight NOAA CIs that support GOES-R:

GOES-R Proving Ground

The GOES-R Proving Ground is a collaborative effort between the GOES-R Program Office, NOAA Cooperative Institutes, NASA, the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Offices, National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) National Centers, and NOAA test beds across the United States. The Proving Ground provides testing and evaluation of simulated GOES-R products prior to the launch of the satellites. The simulated GOES-R products are generated using combinations of currently available GOES data, along with higher resolution data provided by instruments on polar-orbiting satellites such as Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua and Terra satellites as well as model synthetic satellite data.

The Proving Ground was established to prepare operational forecasters for the amount of data that will be available with the GOES-R series and ensure maximum utilization when the satellites are launched and operational.

Many of the GOES-R products will be aimed at monitoring severe weather and helping forecasters issue earlier, more accurate severe weather warnings. In order create severe weather tools that forecasters have requested, the GOES-R Proving Ground is working with the Experimental Forecast Program and the Experimental Warning Program of the NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed, developing and utilizing experimental GOES-R products to determine their utility in monitoring and forecasting severe convective weather.

The goals of the Proving Ground are: training forecasters to use new products, identifying different utilities of each product, identifying weaknesses or errors with each product, user-feedback development, and day one readiness for GOES-R operations.[2]

See also


  1. ^ "GOES Flyout Schedule" http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/FlyoutSchedules.html
  2. ^ a b "Proving Ground". GOES-R.  
  3. ^ "GOES-R Trifold Flyer" http://www.goes-r.gov/downloads/GOES-R-Tri-10-06-09_v7.pdf
  4. ^ "GOES-R Spacecraft Overview". GOES-R.  
  5. ^ Braukus, Michael; Diller, George H. (April 5, 2012). "NASA Awards Launch Contract For Goes-R And Goes-S Missions".  
  6. ^ "The GOES-R ABI" http://www.goes-r.gov/downloads/2012-AMS/02/Schmit.pdf
  7. ^ "Lightning, Tornadoes, and the Future of NOAA Satellites" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDb6xb07OSI
  8. ^ "The Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) for the GOES-R Series of Geostationary Satellites" http://www.goes-r.gov/downloads/2012-Science-Week/pres/tues/Goodman.pdf
  9. ^ "The Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) on the GOES-R Series" http://www.goes-r.gov/downloads/2010-AMS/GLM-Goodman.pdf
  10. ^ "Lockheed Martin's GOES-R Gets The Go" http://www.satnews.com/cgi-bin/story.cgi?number=356899010
  11. ^ "GOES-R EXIS Instrument Page" http://www.goes-r.gov/spacesegment/exis.html
  12. ^ "Space Environment In-Situ Suite (SEISS)" http://www.goes-r.gov/spacesegment/seiss.html
  13. ^ "GOES-R Magnetometer" http://www.goes-r.gov/spacesegment/mag.html
  14. ^ "Data Transition: GOES Rebroadcast" http://www.goes-r.gov/ground/data-transfer.html
  15. ^ "NOAA: DCS" http://www.noaasis.noaa.gov/DCS/htmfiles/intro.html
  16. ^ "HRIT/EMWIN Overview" http://www.goes-r.gov/users/hrit.html
  17. ^ "NOAA SARSAT" http://www.sarsat.noaa.gov/
  18. ^ "GOES-R Ground Segment Overview" http://www.goes-r.gov/ground/overview.html
  19. ^ "GOES-R Systems Engineering" http://www.goes-r.gov/syseng/functions.html
  20. ^ "GOES-R User Readiness" http://www.goes-r.gov/users/user-readiness-overview.html
  21. ^ "NOAA Cooperative Institutes" http://www.nrc.noaa.gov/ci/


External links

  • Official Website
  • GOES-R on Facebook
  • Social & Economic Benefits of GOES
  • NASA
  • NOAA
  • National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service
  • National Weather Service
  • Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies
  • Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies
  • Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere
  • Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences
  • Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education, and Training
  • GOES-R Satellite Proving Ground
  • Emergency Managers Weather Information Network
  • National Hurricane Center
  • NASA Search and Rescue Satellite-aided Tracking
  • NOAA Search and Rescue Satellite-aided Tracking
  • Space Weather Prediction Center
  • Storm Prediction Center