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Feb 28, 2018

A new satellite will help Alaska, Hawaii, and the West Coast spot storms and wildfires

<em>A rendering of NOAA’s GOES-S satellite, launching on March 1st from Cape Canaveral, Florida.</em>

On March 6th, 2017, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s latest weather satellite, called GOES-16, detected wildfires in northern Texas from space — before firefighters in the area even received 911 calls. NOAA quickly alerted local officials, who began evacuating people.

“We saved lives,” says Louis Uccellini, director of the National Weather Service at NOAA, “well before we even went operational.” In fact, NOAA had just gotten access to the first GOES-16 imagery when it spotted the wildfires, while the satellite was still in its testing phase. Four days in, and GOES-16 was already showing its perhaps most important potential.

Now, NOAA is getting ready to launch a second satellite that will complement the work of...

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