New generation of environmental satellite, GOES-15, to begin operating over Western United States and Pacific region
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — (BUSINESS WIRE) — December 15, 2011 — The new generation of weather and environmental satellites, GOES-15, officially became operational as GOES-West on Dec. 13, 2011. As a result, communities across the Western United States and Pacific region will begin to benefit from improved weather forecasts and environmental intelligence.
On Dec. 6, 2011 at 1545z, GOES-15 took its first infrared image as the operational geostationary satellite positioned over the Pacific - called GOES-West. This image shows a portion of that first image. The clouds are colorized based on their temperature, an indication of storm intensity. GOES-15 will continue to image the Western U.S. and Pacific every 15-30 minutes, with full hemisphere scans every 3 hours until its retirement - hopefully many years from now. (Photo: NOAA)
ITT Exelis Geospatial Systems, an operating division of ITT Exelis (NYSE: XLS), designed and built the imager and sounder instruments flying on board GOES-15 for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ( NOAA) in cooperation with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. In addition to producing the familiar weather pictures on U.S. newscasts, these instruments will enable GOES-15 to provide early warnings of severe weather conditions like tornadoes, flash floods, hurricanes and hail storms.
“Providing timely access to environmental intelligence is critical to protecting lives, property and infrastructure,” said Rob Mitrevski, vice president, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance programs at ITT Exelis Geospatial Systems. “The satellite instruments built by ITT Exelis continue to be an integral part of our nation’s weather forecast ability, enabling our country to see and solve some of the toughest environmental challenges.”
GOES satellites provide meteorologists with nearly continuous images as well as temperature and moisture data, enabling more accurate weather forecasts. GOES data is also used for climate-weather prediction models; ocean temperature; charting ice; snow and glacier mapping; land temperature measurement; and monitoring agricultural crop conditions.
GOES-15 was launched March 4, 2010. After reaching geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above the U.S. and prior to being activated, the satellite underwent six months of extensive post-launch testing before being parked in on-orbit storage.
ITT Exelis has been designing and building space-borne meteorological instruments for nearly 50 years and is currently working with NOAA and NASA to build GOES-R. This next-generation environmental satellite will include the most advanced meteorological imaging instrument ever built for operational weather forecasting, the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI).
Designed and built by ITT Exelis, ABI will monitor three times the number of atmospheric conditions currently measured and will produce images that can discern objects as small as one-half a kilometer. ABI is also much faster, updating data every 30 seconds versus the current rate of 7.5 minutes. At that speed, ABI can create a full-earth image in five minutes versus 30 minutes for the current imagers. ABI also will zoom in and track a single storm while simultaneously collecting continent-wide data and imagery. All these improvements add up to faster and more accurate forecasts, improved hazardous- weather tracking and increased capability to study and monitor climate change.
ITT Exelis Geospatial Systems, headquartered in Rochester, N.Y., is a global supplier of innovative night vision, remote sensing and navigation solutions that provide sight and situational awareness at the space, airborne, ground and soldier levels. Key applications include image intensification and thermal imaging; advanced power supplies; multi-spectral image systems; weather and climate monitoring; space science; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; GPS-based positioning, navigation and timing systems; and image exploitation software.
ITT Exelis is a diversified, top-tier global aerospace, defense and information solutions company with strong positions in enduring and emerging global markets. Exelis is a leader in networked communications, sensing and surveillance, electronic warfare, navigation, air traffic solutions and information systems with growing positions in cyber security, composite aerostructures, logistics and technical services. The company has a 50-year legacy of innovation and technology expertise, partnering with customers worldwide to deliver affordable, mission-critical products and services for managing global threats, conflicts and complexities. Headquartered in McLean, Va., the company employs about 21,000 people and generated 2010 revenue of $5.9 billion. www.exelisinc.com
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ITT Exelis Geospatial Systems