HOUSTON, USA - A new satellite will be launched by the Federal government's Department of Commerce. The DoC's job is to protect, "life and property" in an effort to maintain our national tax base. It sounds cold, but in the strictest business sense, if they keep you alive and your home valuable, you will pay your income and property taxes, therefore helping the USA remain strong. The real world effect is that we have a Federal department with a vested interest to keep you safe. Their National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) -- a branch of which is the National Weather Service -- has designed a weather satellite which will provide incredible views of our planet, enhancing weather forecast accuracy, better satisfying their mission. The efforts will represent a generational improvement in forecasting which will translate to your TV, allowing me to give you even more accurate forecasts.
The new satellite will be launched tomorrow, then tested for 6 months before its images come to your TV screen. You'll notice the satellite loop is so much smoother -- like watching smoke drift by instead of the jittery, "flip card animation" we've all become used to as it's the only thing we know. This will result in the equivalent of going from old school black-and-white TV to HDTV.
The billion dollar (plus) satellite will have all the features of previous weather satellites, but also pack a boat load of new communications equipment. Lockheed Martin physically built the satellite and say it's their most advanced, "communications satellite" ever built. (It'll do much more than just spot hurricanes. It'll also help relay distress calls and more.)
In addition to bringing pictures of cloud into incredible HD with rapid-refresh (smooth satellite loops), several new major weather systems will be added -- and they're major news for all:
A lightning detector!
Currently, a constellation of ground-based lightning detectors triangulate to locate strikes and have a detection range of about 300 miles. That means lightning over the open ocean goes undetected. A space-based system will show every strike in the satellite's view (an entire half of the earth, including the oceans.) The science resulting will be incredible.
- Currently, a constellation of ground-based lightning detectors triangulate to locate strikes and have a detection range of about 300 miles. That means lightning over the open ocean goes undetected. A space-based system will show every strike in the satellite's view (an entire half of the earth, including the oceans.) The science resulting will be incredible.
- A "space weather" detection system
- This will relay to us Earthlings any severe solar flares or radiation coming from the sun. This can help protect sensitive communications equipment and electrical grids. It can also be used to help strategy in commercial airlines and even in war zones because when big space weather happens, it frequently interrupts radio traffic with pure static, leaving people blind and out of contact.
The launch of what they're calling, "GOES-R" happens at Cape Canaveral, Florida at 5:42pm eastern time 11/19/16. Hopefully this rocket launches without a delay. (GOES stands for Geostationary Orbiting Environmental Satellite.)
Here's a great video!