Transcript for "Building the Nation's Newest Weather Satellite"

Narrator: Say you've been observing Earth's weather using GOES satellites for the past 40 years. and suddenly you realize you need to launch another satellite to keep doing it because it's really important.

Naturally, you might think to yourself, "Great, let's just get parts from the previous satellite, launch them into space, and let them do their thing." Unfortunately that's just not how it works. Scientists and engineers are always looking for better ways to improve the weather forecast, and for them, images like this from decades old satellites just aren't quite up to snuff.

Thankfully scientists and engineers have been busy working with meteorologists to improve things. So they have an idea of what data is needed next. That way when they launch a new satellite they're adding to what they learned before, which means even better weather forecast for the rest of us.

So, when you build a satellite in NOAA's GOES series called GOES-R, it naturally sets off a flurry of activity. Because they always want to improve things. Engineers might change the satellite platform, upgrade all the instruments, and because it's meant to improve the forecast, add something totally new that's never been done before, like a new lightning mapper.

After months of constructive debates and probably more than a few late nights, they'll finally come to an agreement.

Once everything has been approved, the engineers get to design and put the satellite together. However, even though they've built GOES satellites before, it's not just a matter of pulling out the old designs and bolting everything together. Because there's new science to be done, things need to be redesigned modified, upgraded, built, tested, re-tested, tested some more, and finally delivered so that at the end of the day it all fits neatly atop a giant rocket.

Once all that's finished, the satellite launches into space. The scientists and engineers celebrate and lots of new data starts coming in that improves the weather forecast for us here on Earth.