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  • Satellite Evolution

NOAA’s GOES-18 weather satellite declared operational with L3Harris advanced baseline imager

NOAA declared the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-18 fully operational as GOES West, marking a significant milestone for severe weather detection in the Western Hemisphere.

L3Harris’ Advanced Baseline Imager is the main instrument for NOAA’s GOES-18. This satellite will detect and monitor Pacific hurricanes, atmospheric rivers, coastal fog, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, and other environmental phenomena that affect the western contiguous US, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, and Central America

Launched March 1, 2022, the primary instrument aboard GOES-18 is the L3Harris high-resolution Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI). L3Harris also produced the enterprise ground system which processes the imagery and controls the weather satellite constellation and its suite of instruments.


“Yesterday’s declaration of GOES-18 as fully operational reinforces our relentless pursuit to build a more weather-ready nation,” said Rob Mitrevski, Vice President and General Manager, Spectral Solutions, Space and Airborne Systems, L3Harris. “As a long-standing and trusted partner to NOAA, we have successfully delivered more than 75 payloads in 60 years and are proud of the significant role our technology is playing to help detect future severe weather events.”


The ABI views Earth with 16 spectral bands and provides three times more spectral information, four times the spatial resolution, and more than five times faster coverage than the previous generation imager. The ABI onboard GOES-18 provides critical weather data on the western contiguous US, Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, Central America and the Pacific.


The final satellite in the GOES-R series of advanced geostationary weather sensors, GOES-U, is slated to launch in 2024 and features L3Harris’ fourth ABI. NOAA’s next-generation geostationary satellite mission, Geostationary Extended Observations (GeoXO), will begin operating in the early 2030s and the imager award is expected to be announced in early 2023.

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