Let’s hear it for the space Cinderellas – Earth-observing satellites

We celebrate probes that look out at the universe, but rarely give a thought to the army of craft that peer down at our planet and make our lives better, says Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

Space | Columnist 16 February 2022

GOES-T

NASA/NOAA

WHEN we think about space launches, we tend to picture telescopes and astronauts. We don’t tend to think about farming. Yet on 1 March, a satellite is due to lift off from Cape Canaveral in Florida, and one of its main contributions will be to help farmers work their land more efficiently.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-T (GOES-T, aka “ghost”), operated by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is the latest in a long line of probes designed not to look out to deep space, but back at Earth. In this case, it is designed to …

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