The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) 2016 launch of its next-generation weather satellite, the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R-series (GOES-R), promises a huge leap in improving weather forecasting and climate monitoring. As NOAA’s prime contractor for the main instrument payload, the Advanced Baseline Imager, the Antennas, and the Ground Segment, including satellite communication and control, Harris plays a major role in delivering accurate and timely information to positively impact decision making that will affect lives and property.

Visit the NOAA/NASA GOES-R site at

About GOES-R

The GOES-R program will collect, process, and transmit more detailed information across a broader spectral range in a more timely manner than the current GOES satellites can. The large volume of information from GOES-R will allow weather forecasters to build more accurate forecasts, provide earlier storm warnings, and support more accurate storm tracking to ensure public safety.

With new information coming every 30 seconds, GOES-R will provide forecasters with near-real-time, sharp, detailed, color-enhanced imagery of storm events in sequence like watching streaming video. A great improvement over the current black and white imagery from the current GOES system which is received with greater time delays between images. It is like comparing a standard black and white television receiving a signal through the television's antenna to modern digital high-definition television.

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

Impacts of GOES-R

Better information and earlier warnings will help save lives and property during severe weather events – and curtail unnecessary flight cancellations and coastal area evacuations.

The new instruments on NOAA’s GOES-R will provide richer data with near-real-time imagery so meteorologists will know more about early formations of storms, allowing them to track and follow the storms to improve severe weather preparedness.

Beyond storm events and weather forecasting, the information gained from the higher-resolution images can be used to improve aviation flight route planning, air quality warnings and alerts, drought outlook planning and climate studies, and maritime forecasts. It will also provide better information to detect and monitor wildfires, monitor heavy rainfall areas to identify flash flooding risk, and monitor areas of smoke and dust which reduce visibility.

GOES-R information could mean extra time to evacuate when a hurricane is imminent, more time to seek shelter during a tornado, or to get cars off the road when flash floods occur, and extra seconds to ensure children are safe when lightning strikes.

ABI-class Instruments

The primary instrument aboard the GOES-R satellite is the Advanced Baseline Imager, or ABI, the namesake of Harris' class of next-generation geostationary environmental instruments. In addition to the ABI instruments built for the United States, Harris also built ABI-class instruments for Japan, known as the Advanced Himawari Imager (AHI), which launched in October 2014 aboard the Himawari-8 satellite for the Japanese Meteorological Agency. The AHI began operation in July 2015, providing a rich array of environmental data from the eastern hemisphere. The ABI-class technology is also scheduled to launch aboard Korean Aerospace Research Institute's second geostationary weather satellite, GEO-KOMPSAT-2A. In total, Harris is delivering 7 ABI-class instruments around the world to bring next-generation weather imagery across the globe.

GOES-R Enterprise Ground System

NOAA's ground system, built by Harris, is ready to communicate with GOES-R.  The system represents a quantum leap in the timeliness, quantity, and accuracy of remotely sensed meteorological data. With a breakthrough space-based sensor capability collecting more data at faster rates, a ground system equally transformational is required to deliver the advancements expected by NOAA and the nation. Harris state-of-the-art enterprise ground system communicates with and controls the GOES-R spacecraft, receives the raw data from the GOES-R 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 to ensure protection of lives and property.

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