The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)/ Polar Operational Environmental Satellite (POES) program is a key element in National Weather Service (NWS) operations.

The GOES/POES mission is composed of two geostationary satellites and two polar orbiting satellites. These satellites operate in pairs. The geostationary satellites, GOES-East covering the East Coast and GOES-West covering the West Coast, provide real-time weather data for use in short-term weather forecasting (warnings of severe weather) and space environment monitoring, as well as research and development. The polar orbiting satellites primarily provide long-range weather forecasting, ensuring that non-visible data, for any region of the Earth, are no more than six hours old.

The goals of the GOES/POES program are to:

  • Carry forth the U.S. commitment to systematic, global weather observation, providing total global coverage
  • Monitor the earth's surface and space environmental conditions Introduce improved atmospheric and oceanic observations and data dissemination capabilites
  • Develop and provide new and improved applications and products for a wide range of federal agencies, state and local governments, and private users
  • Support growing international cooperation in space
  • Make major contributions toward international search and rescue operations - Current number of lives saved
  • mprove the efficiency of many sectors of our national economy by saving industry and general public billions of dollars a year
  • Provide current data for global change research
  • Key implementer of U.S. Peaceful Use of Space Policy


Missions supporting this program: