NOAA Deputy Administrator Says Satellite Programs Key to Saving Lives, Lessening Economic Impact of Severe Weather

AER Goes-R Team
July 7, 2011

Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction, and deputy administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), emphasized the vital role played by  NOAA satellite programs in providing timely weather data that can save lives during severe weather.

"Our polar and geostationary satellites are the backbone of the nation's weather enterprise," said Sullivan, discussing the next generation of NOAA's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES). 

She addressed a gathering of leaders and first responders at the Harris Corporation Customer Briefing Center in Melbourne, Florida. 

Today's GOES satellites are a used by NOAA to detect and track hurricanes, thunderstorms, tornadoes and other severe weather in the continental U.S. and western hemisphere.

The next generation, the GOES Series-R (GOES-R), is expected to:

  • Significantly speed severe weather prediction and warnings by processing and delivering 40 times more data than is possible today to NOAA's National Weather Service and more than 10,000 direct users.
  • Vastly improve image resolution and increase the rate of imagery coverage of Earth's surfaces from every 30 minutes to every five minutes in normal conditions - and every 30 seconds during severe weather events.
  • Provide a new capability for continuous monitoring of total lightning activity, which provides early indication of storm intensification and severe weather events, including improved tornado warning lead time. The first launch of a GOES-R series satellite is scheduled for 2015.

AER's work for GOES-R focuses on key elements of the ground segment as a subcontractor on the Harris team. The ground segment encompasses receiving and processing of satellite data, generating and distributing products from satellite data, and command and control of operational satellites.

A webcast recording of the meeting may be viewed at Read more in the Harris press release. View a video describing how GOES-R will be used to predict storms.