Spaceflight Insider

NOAA releases first images of Sun taken by GOES 17

First images of the Sun taken by the SUVI instrument on the GOES-17 spacecraft. Photo Credit: NOAA / NASA

First images of the Sun taken by the SUVI instrument on the GOES-17 spacecraft. Photo Credit: NOAA / NASA

Launched on March 1, 2018 atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 541 rocket, the GOES-17 spacecraft has beamed back its first images of the Sun. 

Based on the A2100A satellite bus, GOES-17 was built by Lockheed Martin. to be sent aloft and serve as a weather satellite. The spacecraft used its Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI) instrument to capture the images of our world’s parent star. 

“We’re a Silicon Valley team that designed, built and tested SUVI, and now we’re processing data that will teach us even more about the Sun,” said Jeff Vanden Beukel, SUVI program director at Lockheed Martin. “With two SUVI instruments now delivering imagery, we can help NOAA and NASA better predict solar storms, how they travel through space and how they can impact our planet. And we’re not stopping there. We have more SUVI instruments yet to launch, which will complement seven other types of heliophysics instruments made by Lockheed Martin teaching us about our star and how it affects Earth.”

SUVI began capturing images of the Sun starting on May 16, 2018. A similar instrument is used on another satellite in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) current fleet of weather satellites. SUVI provides scientists with the ability to study the Sun in the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) portion of the spectrum.  

If everything goes as it is currently planned, the GOES-R series of satellites is slated to be operational through 2036.



Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology,, The Mars Society and Universe Today.

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