GOES-16 image of the Moon beyond Earth’s limb taken Jan. 15. GOES-16 uses the Moon for calibration purposes. (NASA/NOAA)
America’s newest next-generation Earth observing weather satellite, NOAA’s GOES-16, has returned its first high-definition images of Earth—one of which even includes the Moon!
GOES-16 is the newest and most advanced member of the GOES family of Earth observation satellites used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to deliver detailed and up-to-date weather information to meteorologists around the country. Designed, built, and launched under NASA control, command of GOES satellites are handed over to NOAA after they reach orbit. At that time their designations change from a letter to number.
GOES-16—at the time GOES-R—was launched aboard a ULA Atlas V 541 from Cape Canaveral on November 19, 2016. I was on site for the night launch; check out the video below captured from about 5 miles from the pad.
The first GOES satellite was launched in October 1975.
From its position in geostationary orbit, 22,300 miles above the Earth, GOES-16 can provide a full image of the planet every 15 minutes—in 16 channels—and one of the continental U.S. every five minutes, and scans the Earth at five times the speed ...