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IT will also provide more accurate forecasts and real-time mapping of lightning. The bigger and more powerful the storm, the more lightning it generates, most of it invisible.

This new GOES-R spacecraft will track USA weather as never before: hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, volcanic ash clouds, wildfires, lightning storms, even solar flares.

When you hear the word "satellite", your first thought is probably satellite TV or radio.

Of the six instruments on board the satellite, two will focus on Earth's weather: The "Advanced Baseline Imager" is a fancy name for the camera that will send back extremely detailed pictures of weather and can survey the entire Western Hemisphere in just five minutes.

This new technology will provide better safety for people and protection of property, all possible through better forecasts of tropical and extratropical storms.

NOAA's GOES-R weather satellite, built by Lockheed Martin, was successfully launched on November 19, 6:42 pm. From there, it will watch weather moving over most of the Western Hemisphere. That means lightning over the open ocean goes undetected.

The next mission from Cape Canaveral is targeted for December 7. Forecasters are predicting a 90 percent chance of favorable weather. "This means that we will be able to get continuous, 24/7 monitoring".

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"What's so exciting is that we're going to be getting more data, more often, with much more detail and higher resolution", Roker told NASA's Stephanie Martin during live launch commentary today. "This is really only possible from the vantage point of space".

A new satellite will be launched by the Federal government's Department of Commerce.

Weather forecasters and climate scientists have been eagerly awaiting the launch of GOES-R, which promises to greatly increase the amount of weather data that can be collected from orbit.

The new satellite's centerpiece is an imaging instrument - provided by Melbourne-headquartered Harris Corp. - that promises to deliver improved performance likened to a leap from black-and-white to high-definition color TV. NOAA expects it to revolutionize forecasting. We carry the weather in our pockets, for one thing. The launch was delayed about an hour by a technical issue with the rocket and a launch range issue. The satellite had to be secured by technicians at the Kennedy Space Center outside of Orlando even as Florida evacuated its coastal cities.

When that happens, GOES-16 will take on the name of its predecessor.

GOES-R will also have the ability to track lighting around the Americas and surrounding oceans, helping to better forecast tornadoes and severe storms in the future, potentially saving lives.

"It's three times as many channels, or spectral bands, and so that gives us 15 channels to look at, from visible imagery to infrared imagery", Furgione said. Specifically, the probe will be able to measure the intensity of solar flares, which are responsible for causing "space weather" around Earth.