New equipment at Marshall Space Flight Center will help with better weather forecasts

REDSTONE ARSENAL - NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center has new equipment that will improve weather forecasting and could help keep you and your family safe during severe weather.

New antennas are receiving information from satellites 25,000 miles above the surface of the earth.

Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites, or the GOES systems, produce the weather pictures you see on TV and can even map lightning. It's a vast improvement from previous satellites.

"Collects the data in three times as many channels or spectral bands, at four times the resolution, at five times the data rate," said Gary Jedlovec, the chief of the Earth Science Branch at Marshall Space Flight Center.

As a result, there is about 20 times more data coming down. The new larger antenna systems were needed are needed to handle it all. Each one is over 22 feet in diameter and can get data from the satellites every 30 seconds.

"So that we can monitor rapidly changing weather features, so we can understand those weather processes, and so the weather forecasters can use that to improve their weather forecasts and to communicate that information to the public," said Jedlovec.

He said this will help during heavy rains, tornadoes, and severe weather. One of the satellites helped track the recent hurricane Florence.

"We make all of the data available to, not just scientific researchers in this community, but throughout the United States and the world, as well as we make all of our data available to the public," he said.

The satellites and antenna are expected to be in operation for the next 20 years. They say the information provided from space will greatly improve our lives here on Earth.

The facility and antennas will become a tour stop for the U.S. Space and Rocket Center to show people how NASA is helping improve weather forecasts.