Spaceflight Insider

GOES-16 returns first images

Close-up image of North America captured on January 15, 2017.

Close-up image of North America captured on January 15, 2017, as a part of the calibration process of the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) on GOES-16. Photo Credit: NOAA/NASA

The 16th satellite in the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite fleet (GOES-16) has returned the first images following its launch in November 2016. Formerly known as GOES-R, the satellite is the first in the next generation of Earth and space weather observing satellites operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The images released today and posted on the NOAA website were taken on January 15, 2017, during planned calibration activities for the spacecraft’s Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI). GOES-16 will be calibrating its suite of instruments through much of the year until it is assigned an orbital slot to replace the current GOES-East or GOES-West satellites in November 2017.

GOES-16 calibration image of Earth and the distant Moon.

GOES-16 captured this view of the Moon as it looked across the surface of the Earth on January 15. Like earlier GOES satellites, GOES-16 will use the Moon for calibration. Photo & Caption Credit: NOAA/NASA

The ABI on GOES-16 can detect 16 spectral bands that include two visible channels, four near-infrared channels, and ten infrared channels. GOES-16 will also be able to provide three times more spectral resolution, four times more spatial resolution, and five times faster coverage over existing GOES spacecraft.

The increased resolution and coverage will enable the creation of more detailed forecast products by meteorologists as well as deliver more detailed imagery over a shorter period, capturing an image of the continental United States every 5 minutes on average. The ABI is also capable of conducting rapid-scans every 60 seconds during severe weather outbreaks.

16-panel image of North America by GOES-16

This 16-panel image shows the continental United States in the two visible, four near-infrared and 10 infrared channels on the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI). These channels help forecasters distinguish between differences in the atmosphere like clouds, water vapor, smoke, ice, and volcanic ash. Photo & Caption Credit: NOAA/NASA

GOES-16 image of Earth's Western Hemisphere, January 15, 2017.

This composite color full-disk visible image of the Western Hemisphere was captured from NOAA GOES-16 satellite at 1:07 p.m. EST on Jan. 15, 2017, and created using several of the 16 spectral channels available on the satellite’s sophisticated Advanced Baseline Imager. The image, taken from 22,300 miles above the surface, shows North and South America and the surrounding oceans. Photo & Caption Credit: NOAA/NASA

GOES-16 is a collaborative mission operated jointly by NOAA and NASA and will be extensively utilized by the National Weather Service, a branch of NOAA.



Paul is currently a graduate student in Space and Planetary Sciences at the University of Akransas in Fayetteville. He grew up in the Kansas City area and developed an interest in space at a young age at the start of the twin Mars Exploration Rover missions in 2003. He began his studies in aerospace engineering before switching over to geology at Wichita State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in 2013. After working as an environmental geologist for a civil engineering firm, he began his graduate studies in 2016 and is actively working towards a PhD that will focus on the surficial processes of Mars. He also participated in a 2-week simluation at The Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station in 2014 and remains involved in analogue mission studies today. Paul has been interested in science outreach and communication over the years which in the past included maintaining a personal blog on space exploration from high school through his undergraduate career and in recent years he has given talks at schools and other organizations over the topics of geology and space. He is excited to bring his experience as a geologist and scientist to the Spaceflight Insider team writing primarily on space science topics.

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