First Alert Weather In-Depth: L3Harris has big role in next generation of weather satellites

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Technology continues to evolve, and the same goes for weather data. The next generation of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) network is already in the works with L3Harris having a major role in its production.

Daniel Gall, L3Harris Chief Systems Engineer, says they are adding two new parameters to the satellites which will measure water vapor.

“We are adding 2 new spectral bands. We are looking at low level water vapor in the atmosphere. So they are going to provide new science to track moisture in the atmosphere even better. So we will be able to track the atmospheric rivers we have heard about in the news and things like that,” explains Gall.

Not only that, but the resolution will be much sharper with the next generation of GOES satellites compared to the generation in use right now. That extra resolution will help identify small scale weather phenomena, including the detection of wildfires.

“We have all those different colors to look at,” says Gall. “One of them is very sensitive to heat, and we can detect wildfires on the ground 2,200 miles out in space. Sometimes, in remote areas, we see detection in our satellite data even before anyone calls 911 in on the ground.”

The next generation of GOES Satellites is scheduled to begin launches in 2032, and are expected to have a 10-year lifespan.