Five advanced GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites), I through M, built for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under a NASA contract, mark a new era in U.S. weather forecasting. Two of these satellites were launched in 1994 and 1995 and are providing 24-hour monitoring and measurement of dynamic weather events in real time. A third, launched in 1997, serves as backup and is also on call to provide added coverage of severe weather. A fourth, GOES L, was launched in 2000, and the last in the series, GOES-M, was launched in 2001.
The GOES I through M satellites were renamed after launch to GOES 8 through 12, respectively. The spacecraft deliver simultaneous, independent imaging and sounding in geostationary orbit. They also feature a more flexible Earth-scanning capability for improved short-term forecasts for local areas.