Weather forecasts are about to get more accurate and better looking. On Saturday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) newest and most capable weather satellite is scheduled to launch to space aboard an Atlas V rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The satellite, known as GOES-R (pronounced in the bureaucracy as “GOZR”), could dramatically improve forecasts for severe weather events, from hurricanes to tornadoes and solar storms. The spacecraft is the first of four geostationary satellites scheduled to launch between now and 2024, at a cost of $10.83 billion.
Meteorologists say the satellite and the instruments it carries onboard, including the Global Lightning Mapper, are a game changer when it comes to forecasting.