Meteorologists go gaga for GOES 16

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - NASA launched NOAA's newest weather satellite, GOES-R, into orbit on November 16, 2016. It’s a game changer and a big step forward in improving severe weather forecasts and saving lives.

GOES stands for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite. It now sits 22,000 miles above the US traveling at 6,800 miles per hour to keep up with Earth's rotation. The satellite is over 18 feet wide and weighs 6,000 pounds.

Once in place and turned on, GOES-R became known as GOES 16. The satellite has an advanced camera with 16 different settings that look at many things including clouds, smoke, smog, and ash. It can even see wildfires and map lightning strikes.

GOES 16 provides information 5 times faster than our current satellites and is 4 times the resolution.

When storms are brewing, GOES 16 watches them closely and helps with hurricane, tornado and flood warnings to help keep you safe. It will help to drastically improve forecasts and warning times with faster, more accurate data.

GOES 16 is still in its initial testing stages and will become fully operational sometime in June.