Virtual Office Tour - Satellite
An image of a GOES satellite. Since the first weather satellite was launched in 1960, satellite imagery has become an integral part of the forecast process. The first Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) was launched in 1975. The early GOES satellites were spin stabilized and viewed the earth only about ten percent of the time. From April 13, 1994, to the present, a new generation of three-axis stabilized spacecraft has been in operation (pictured at left). These satellites view the earth 100 percent of the time, taking continuous images and soundings.

The oldest of this series, GOES-8 was replaced by GOES-12 on April 1, 2003. GOES-12 provides continuous imagery over the eastern United States. A recent infrared image from GOES-12 is shown below. Click on the image for a larger view and a loop of recent imagery. Be sure to refresh or reload the image in your browser if you have visited the site recently. Otherwise, you might get an older cached version instead.

A recent image from GOES-8.  Click on the image for a larger view and a loop of recent imagery.

GOES satellites provide data for severe storm evaluation, information on cloud cover, winds, ocean currents, fog distribution, storm circulation and snow melt. However, satellites are not only used for obtaining visual and infrared imagery of these types. They are also used to collect and disseminate many other types of observed data and numerical model output to the many NWS forecast offices. The satellites likewise disseminate data and forecasts created at this office to other NWS offices and many external users. We call this data collection and dissemination system the Satellite Broadcast Network (SBN). The antennae that sit atop our roof (pictured below) serve as our connection to this network. Now let's follow the data back inside the building and see how it is used.

An photo of the Satellite Broadcast Network antenna that sits atop our office.

previous icon next icon

Welcome Introduction Entrance Local Management Collaboration Doppler Radar
Upper Air Program ASOS This page is selected.Satellite Operations Forecasters Hydrology
HMT CRS Comms HAM/SKYWARN ETs Goodbye is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.