By Dave Aguilera

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (CBS4) – 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.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The slow process of rolling the rocket to the pad took a little over a half hour once the process began.

“It went beautifully, got a little bit of a late start, but that won’t hold us up tomorrow at all and it’s out at the pad now. That’s what I think of as the last stop before home for the satellite,” said GOES-R Flight Project Manager Pam Sullivan.

The satellite on board is the GOES-R. That’s the first of four new satellites scheduled to be launched between now and 2024 that will be giving meteorologists a new look at weather around the world.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS) (credit: CBS)

Satellite imagery will be four times better and five times faster with the new technology.

Also on board is a state-of-the-art Global Lightning Mapper that will help give faster severe storm warnings.

“Three times the number of optical channels, four times the resolution and five times the bandwidth or re-scan rate. So what it will do is we’ll be able to actually peer into hurricanes and severe storms with much more resolution, much more spectral bands that mirror what’s actually going on with hurricane tracts and things like that,” said Lockheed Deputy Program Manager Laird Kantruss.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)CBS4 photographer Mark Neitro and meteorologist Dave Aguilera near the launchpad on Friday. (credit: CBS)

The launch as a whole has numerous Colorado connections. The GOES-R was built in the state by Lockheed Martin. The Solar Imager by University of Colorado and the AtlasV rocket by United Launch Alliance.

All that technology will help forecasters and the people impacted by severe weather.

“They’ll be able to ultimately better predict when a tornado will touch down,” said Kantruss.

The launch is scheduled for 5:42 p.m. Saturday with a one hour launch window.

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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