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. (NOAA/NASA)
“NOAA GOES-16, situated in geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above Earth, will boost the nation’s weather observation network and NOAA’s prediction capabilities, leading to more accurate and timely forecasts, watches and warnings," NOAA explained in an article on January 23, 2017. "GOES-16 can provide a full image of Earth every 15 minutes and one of the continental U.S. every five minutes, and scans the Earth at five times the speed of NOAA’s current GOES imagers.”
This composite color full-disk visible image was captured at 1:07pm EST on January 15, 2017 and created using several of the 16 spectral channels available on the ABI. The image shows North and South America and the surrounding oceans. GOES-16 observes Earth from from the coast of West Africa, to Hawaii, and everything in between. (NOAA/NASA)
“GOES-R data will help improve hurricane tracking and intensity forecasts, the prediction and warnings of severe weather, including tornadoes and thunderstorms," said said when the satellite first launched on November 19, 2016. "Additionally, GOES-R’s improved rainfall estimates will lead to more timely and accurate flood warnings.”
The satellite has been receiving pieces of information since December 22, such as data from its magnometer (measures Earth’s magnetic field) to help gauge radiation levels incoming from the sun and how they will affect the planet’s atmosphere and/or orbital communications.
This satellite is equipped with the first ever geostationary “Lightning Mapper.” It will be used for monitoring real-time lightning strikes.
"It will be the first operational lightning mapper flown in geostationary orbit.The GLM will collect information such as the frequency, location and extent of lightning discharges to identify intensifying thunderstorms and tropical cyclones. Trends in total lightning that will be available with the GLM have the promise of providing critical information to forecasters which will allow them to focus on developing severe storms much earlier than they can currently, and before these storms produce damaging winds, hail or even tornadoes."
And that is not all: The next satellite, named GOES-S, is being developed and is scheduled to launch sometime late 2017. The current estimate is roughly 9 months from GOES- 16's November 2016 launch. This will be the second of four satellites in this series, with satellites T and U in the succession.