By Karen Morfitt

DENVER (CBS4) – A successful liftoff Thursday afternoon for Colorado-based United Launch Alliance sent a state-of-the-art weather satellite into space.

Scientists say the Colorado-built GOES-S will be key in helping forecast and tracking hazardous weather.

goes 1 Colorado Based ULA Launches Advanced Weather Satellite Into Orbit

(credit: NASA TV)

Longtime Coloradoan Debbie Ohara says the launch was a moment she did not want to miss.

“I was waiting for this, I had this marked on the calendar,” she said.

goes Colorado Based ULA Launches Advanced Weather Satellite Into Orbit

CBS4’s Karen Morfitt speaks with Debbie Ohara, a space enthusiast. (credit: CBS)

She didn’t get to see the launch in person from sunny and warm Cape Canaveral, Florida, but she watched a live feed from NASA from the comfort of her Colorado home.

“It’s just so cool,” Ohara said. “The technology, the science, the engineers, and the people we have in Denver. Oh I’m just so excited watching this.”

goes 2 Colorado Based ULA Launches Advanced Weather Satellite Into Orbit

(credit: CBS)

Beyond the launch, that satellite brings its own excitement. Designed and built by Colorado’s own Lockheed Martin in Littleton, it will give forecasters in the west the ability to quickly zero in on any hazardous weather.

Andrew Schwartz, a former scientist at NCAR in Boulder, made the trip to Kennedy Space Center to take in the moment for himself.

“For those people who say, is it going to rain in my neighborhood?  Well, we’re starting to get to that point,” he said.

goes 4 Colorado Based ULA Launches Advanced Weather Satellite Into Orbit

GOES-S will help precisely track severe weather. (credit: CBS)

It’s a mission Ohara and fellow Coloradoans can easily get behind.

“Anything that enhances our ability to forecast the weather so we can go out and enjoy Colorado, oh the more the better,” she said.

Looking past the science of it all, Ohara says the launch yet another reminder why she is lucky to call Colorado home.

“Very proud that we have people of such high caliber working on science and technology to bring that to people all over the world. Not everybody gets to do that,” she said.

Karen Morfitt joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around the Denver metro area. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.


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