The March 2018 launch of GOES-S delivers the second of four satellites in NOAA's GOES-R series. (The GOES-R series includes GOES-R through GOES-U.) The first, which is now called GOES-16, launched November 2016 and moved to its operational “GOES-East” positionwatching over the eastern United States and Atlantic Oceanin December 2017. GOES-S, named GOES-17 after launch, brings the same capabilities to the western United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and eastern Pacific Ocean when it assumes its operational “GOES-West” position in late 2018.


Harris is prime contractor for the main satellite instrument, known as the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI), and the GOES-R Ground Segment, which includes the ground system that flies the satellites, operates their instruments, and processes all of the data. Together, these solutions are enabling the GOES-R mission to transform weather forecasting to help save lives, protect property, and improve decision making.

Visit the NOAA/NASA GOES-R site at

About the GOES-R Series

Enabled by the Harris ABI and ground system, the GOES-R Series collects, processes, and transmits more detailed information across a broader spectral range and faster than the previous GOES satellites.

New information is available as fast as every 30 seconds so that forecasters receive near-real-time, sharp, detailed, color-enhanced imagery of storm events in close sequence—much like watching streaming video. This represents a major improvement over the slower refresh, black-and-white imagery from previous GOES satellites. Users describe it as similar to going from an old black-and-white television to a modern, high-definition model.

side-by-side black and white TV with GOES image and HDTV with Himawari-8 data


Since launching in 2016, GOES-16 has helped meteorologists issue earlier and more accurate warnings for severe weather, rescue teams to conduct safer and more effective operations during hurricane flooding, fire managers to detect fires sooner and respond more effectively, and airlines to reduce fog delays, among other benefits.

GOES-R series data and products also enable improved aviation flight route planning, air quality warnings and alerts, drought outlook planning and climate studies, maritime forecasts, and detection of reduced visibility due to smoke or dust.

By providing coverage from coast to coast and beyond, GOES-16 and GOES-17 will impact weather forecasting and environmental monitoring nationwide, potentially giving precious extra time to people evacuating from approaching hurricanes, seeking shelter from tornadoes, getting cars off the road when flash floods occur, and finding safe shelter when lightning strikes.

ABI-class Instruments

The primary instrument aboard the GOES-R series is the ABI, the namesake of Harris' class of next-generation geostationary environmental instruments. In addition to the instruments for the United States (GOES-R, GOES-S, GOES-T, and GOES-U), Harris built ABI-class instruments for Japan’s Advanced Himawari Imager (AHI). Launched in 2014 and 2016 aboard the Himawari-8 and Himawari-9 satellites, respectively, AHI has provided a rich array of environmental data for the Eastern Hemisphere. ABI-class technology is also scheduled to launch aboard South Korea’s GEO-KOMPSAT-2A satellite. In total, Harris has built seven ABI-class instruments for the world’s leading meteorological agencies.

GOES-R Enterprise Ground System

A breakthrough space-based sensor capability that collects more data at faster rates than ever before requires an equally transformational ground system to process and deliver data to users. Harris’ state-of-the-art GOES-R enterprise ground system communicates with and controls the satellites, receives the raw data from the instruments, and prepares the data for distribution to the National Weather Service’s Advanced Weather Interactive Processing (AWIPS) system and more than 10,000 direct users.

The GOES-R ground system produces weather products in less than 30 seconds, and generates space weather products in less than two seconds. It can process more than 16 terabytes of data per day, meets stringent high-availability requirements with less than four seconds of downtime per year, and exceeds federal security standards for high-impact systems.

From GOES-16 alone, forecasters and other users have received upwards of 60 times more data than from previous GOES satellites. The GOES-R ground system stands ready to handle the additional increase in data from GOES-S. The rapid and reliable processing and delivery of this data enables advances in forecasting and decision support, including earlier severe weather warnings, improved hurricane forecasts, real-time fire detection, and enhanced aviation safety.

For more information about Harris Corporation's partnership with NOAA and NASA for the GOES-R program, contact us at:



GOES-R Ground System Conceptual Image - satellite and antenna depiction

GOES-R ground system conceptual image


Eastern Hemisphere image from the Advanced Himawari Imager, an ABI-class instrument aboard Japan's Himawari-8 geostationary satellite


Digital image of water vapor during Typhoon Nepartak near Taiwan

Images from the Himawari imager during Typhoon Nepartak, July 2016.

Digital image of Typhoon Nepartak near Taiwan

We rank the top-10 images from GOES-16's first year on orbit
Weather Forecasts: From Space to Ground