By Dave Aguilera

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The AtlasV rocket, carrying the next generation of weather satellites, is at the launchpad ready for liftoff on Saturday afternoon at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

CBS4 Meteorologist Dave Aguilera goes into greater detail about what the satellite is and how it will revolutionize forecasting severe storms.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

GOES is the acronym for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite system. While the GOES-R was built by Lockheed Martin, it will be operated by NESDIS the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service once it is in orbit.

This will provide the greatly upgraded support for weather forecasting and severe storm tracking among other meteorological studies. On board is a global lightning mapper that may turn out to be the key in better predicting where tornadoes might occur. There is also a solar mapper that can help predict solar storms and flares that could disrupt power grids, cell transmissions and even GPS.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The specific instruments on the satellite include the Advanced Baseline Imager, the Hyper spectral Environmental Suite, two Magnetosphere Particle Sensors, a Heavy Ion Sensor, a Solar and Galactic Proton Sensor, the Solar Imaging Suite, which includes the Solar Ultraviolet Imager, the Solar X-Ray Sensor, and the Extreme Ultraviolet Sensor, the Geostationary Lightning Mapper and the Magnetometer.

The goes system has been up and running since 1974. Many satellites over many years. In fact, when GOES-R is in orbit it will actually become GOES 16, with 17, 18 and 19 scheduled to be launched over the next eight years.

Meteorologist Dave Aguilera is a Colorado native and has been forecasting weather in the Rocky Mountain region for over 25 years! Connect with Dave on Facebook and on Twitter @DaveAgCBS.

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