GOES-15 Weather Satellite Captures Its First Image of Earth

April 7, 2010

GOES-15 full-disk image of Earth

From approximately 22,236 miles in space, NOAA's newest Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite - GOES-15 - took its first full visible image of the Earth on April 6, 2010 at 1:33 p.m. EDT.

High Resolution (Credit: NOAA/NASA/SSEC)

GOES-15, launched on March 4, 2010, from Cape Canaveral, Fla., joins three other NOAA operational GOES spacecraft that help the agency's forecasters track life-threatening weather – from tornadoes, floods and hurricanes -- and solar activity that can impact the satellite-based electronics and communications industry.

The black and white full-disk image shows North and South America with a storm system visible across the United States, indicated by a drape of clouds from New England westward to the central Plains. Further, west is a cold front over the Rocky Mountains. Mostly clear skies are seen over the mid-Atlantic, southeastern U.S., Gulf of Mexico, California and Mexico.

GOES-15 is the final spacecraft in the latest series of NOAA geostationary satellites, capturing higher resolution images of weather patterns and atmospheric measurements than those provided by earlier satellites. The higher resolution allows forecasters to pinpoint the location of severe weather with greater accuracy.

After five more months of tests, NASA will officially “hand over” GOES-15 to NOAA, which will place the satellite in orbital storage mode. It will be ready for activation if any of NOAA's operational GOES spacecraft experiences trouble.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.