Some of the world’s latest and most advanced weather satellite technologies and tools are being built right here in The Summit City. In fact, Exelis, in Fort Wayne, has been the birth of some of these instruments for the past 50 years!
A few years ago, Exelis was chosen to build the next generation of imager for the GOES-R satellite program, head up by the National Weather Service and NOAA. Set to launch in March of 2016, the GOES-R satellite will bring significant improvements to severe weather forecasting, potentially bringing you and your family extra life saving minutes.
For the satellite, Exelis is responsible for building the Advanced Baseline Imager, or ABI. The ABI is the primary instrument that takes the pictures that we’ll see and use every day for severe weather forecasting. Folks at Exelis equate the ABI to a digital camera with lenses, telescopes, mirrors, and electronics. They’ve also worked on similar ABI’s for Japan and Korea. This will be able gather high resolution images and other data much faster than ever to help improve forecasting and warning time for weather and many other environmental events that pose a risk to public safety.
One of the most exciting features of GOES-R will be visible satellite imagery…every minute! This will be a phenomenal tool for short-term severe weather forecast. Meteorologists will actually be able to see the storms grow. Folks at the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) anticipate that this technology will lead to better lead time in issuing severe weather watches.