On November 19, NASA will launch the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R Series (GOES-R) satellite into orbit over America. The GOES-R is a leap ahead of the previous system (GOES) and will sit over 22,000 miles above the earth’s surface. Nature describes GOES-R saying:
GOES-R can take pictures as often as every 30 seconds, much faster than the several-minute intervals of current GOES weather satellites. That rapid-fire imagery allows the satellite to track developing changes in thunderstorms, hurricanes and other severe storms. It also enables meteorologists to follow plumes of wildfire smoke or volcanic ash as they spread. And it helps emergency responders to better prepare for where to deploy resources as a storm advances, says Louis Uccellini, director of the National Weather Service.
The next-generation satellite can also take pictures with a sharper focus and in a broader range of wavelengths than the current GOES satellites. “It’s like going from black-and-white to a super-high-definition television,” says Stephen Volz, an assistant administrator with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Silver Spring, Maryland.
The knock on effects of this advanced technology will bleed through into every economic sector in some way, but here are a few of the more obvious areas this tech could be useful:
- Energy installations in the Gulf of Mexico will be better able to monitor hurricane intensity. That could save exploration-and-production companies valuable down time and protect oil company employees from potential danger.
- Farmers with better forecasts can plan to harvest crops that might otherwise be destroyed by hail, rain, or unexpected frost earlier than they normally would, preserving some of their value. They will also be able to monitor droughts and vegetation health, allowing the farmers to make better decisions about irrigation and yield.
- The airline industry will be able to track weather patterns and divert planes more efficiently, preventing money-sucking delays in the air or on the ground, and increasing customer satisfaction. In the future GOES-R will also be able to predict airline icing threats using algorithms onboard the satellite.
- Utilities and pipeline operators will be able to better direct flows of natural gas to areas demanding increased heating or electricity. This will save both consumers and providers money as costly delays will be prevented.
- Hospitals and other health care providers will be better prepared to deal with the effects of rapid heat waves, cold snaps, and flash floods. A 2014 study by the CDC found that over 2,100 people on average died each year from extreme heat, cold, or floods from 2006-2010.
Aside from keeping people safer, the added efficiencies in each of these markets could be a boon, not only to companies in the sector, but to GDP as a whole. Ultimately four satellites will be launched with a price tag of $11 billion, adding full coverage over the U.S. by 2036.
Follow ongoing coverage of the economic sectors mentioned here and more in Richard C. Young’s Intelligence Report, which features the all-new Cycle Allocator Plus sector ETF strategy.