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商业 - 科技

这颗卫星造价110亿美元,将给气象预测带来革命

财富中文网 2016年11月22日

速度更快的多任务气象卫星,将以前所未有的方式显示飓风信息。

美国于上周六,在佛罗里达州卡纳维尔角发射了一枚气象卫星,该卫星可提供西半球连续的高分辨率飓风和其他暴风图像,将给气象预报带来“革命性变化”。

卫星提供的更详细的视图,预计将有助于飓风预测,更早预警洪水和更有效地跟踪野火、岩浆柱和火山灰云等。

GOES-R卫星,可以每五分钟拍摄一张西半球的完整图片,同时可以缩放具体区域的火灾、火山喷发或暴雨。

这枚卫星为地球同步环境卫星(GOES)系列的第17枚,是自2010年以来的首次发射。该卫星比前代有显著进步。前代卫星需要每30分钟拍摄一张半球图片,并且无法同时执行多任务。

NASA地球科学副主任桑德拉·考夫曼在周四的新闻发布会上表示:“这是一次巨大突破。它将给气象预测带来真正革命性的变化。”

这枚卫星将通过联合发射联盟(United Launch Alliance)与洛克希德·马丁(Lockheed Martin)和波音(Boeing)合作开发的Atlas 5火箭发射。

新卫星的核心是一台高分辨率摄像机,由哈里斯公司(Harris Corp)旗下的Exelis公司(Exelis Inc)设计和制造。这款摄像机可以拍摄16个波长的图像,而当前系统的摄像机仅能拍摄5个波长。

美国国家海洋与大气管理局(National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,NOAA)的项目科学家史蒂夫·古德曼表示,由NASA和NOAA联合开发的GOES-R卫星,有更高的分辨率,拍摄速度比前代提高了五倍。

这枚卫星的能力不止限于气象预测。例如,更清晰的图像使预测人员可以看到云层的波动,因此飞行员可以避开紊流,为飞机乘客提供更平稳的旅程。

NOAA表示,由洛克希大·马丁公司制作的GOES-R卫星包括第一款实用的闪电测绘仪,可以每秒200次的速度绘制西半球的闪电场图像。

NOAA行政助理史蒂芬·沃尔兹表示,GOES-R是系统性升级项目中的四枚卫星之一,成本为110亿美元,包括发射费用。下一枚卫星暂定于2018年发射。

据2015年美国政府问责办公室(U.S. Government Accountability Office)的报告显示,由于技术问题和管理不善,GOES和由NOAA运行的第二个极地轨道气象卫星网络,一直面临成本超支和项目拖延的问题。

新卫星进入轨道之后,将经过约11个月的测试,然后才会投入实际应用。NOAA表示,目前实际应用的卫星共有三枚。(财富中文网)

译者:刘进龙/汪皓

A U.S. weather satellite that will “revolutionize” forecasting was scheduled for launch from Florida’s Cape Canaveral on Saturday, promising to deliver continuous high-definition views of hurricanes and other storms over the Western Hemisphere.

The detailed view provided by the satellite is expected to sharpen hurricane forecasts, provide more advanced warning of floods and better tracking of wildfires, plumes and volcanic ash clouds.

Scheduled to blast off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 5:42 p.m. EST, the GOES-R satellite is capable of taking a complete picture of the hemisphere every five minutes while simultaneously zooming in on fires, volcanic eruptions or severe rain in specific regions.

The satellite, the 17th in the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) series, is the first to be launched since 2010. It is a step up from its predecessors, which take 30 minutes to image the hemisphere and are not capable of carrying out multiple tasks at the same time.

“This is a quantum leap,” Sandra Cauffman, deputy director of Earth Sciences at NASA, said at a news conference on Thursday. “It will truly revolutionize weather forecasting.”

The satellite rests on top of an Atlas 5 rocket developed by United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co..

The heart of the new satellite is a high-resolution camera, designed and built by Exelis Inc, a subsidiary of Harris Corp. It can see in 16 wavelengths, compared with the five available with the current system.

GOES-R, developed by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has four times better resolution and can take images five times faster than its predecessors, NOAA program scientist Steven Goodman said.

The satellite’s capabilities go beyond weather forecasting. The sharper view will enable forecasters to see waves in clouds, for example, so that pilots can avoid turbulence and give airline passengers smoother rides.

GOES-R, built by Lockheed, includes the first operational lightning mapper, which will image lightning fields in the western hemisphere 200 times a second, NOAA said.

GOES-R is the first of four satellites in a system upgrade that will cost $11 billion, including launch fees, said NOAA Assistant Administrator Stephen Volz. The next satellite is slated for launch in 2018.

GOES, along with a second, polar-orbiting weather satellite network operated by NOAA, has faced cost overruns and program delays due to technical issues and mismanagement, according to a December 2015 U.S. Government Accountability Office report.

Once in orbit, the new satellite will undergo about 11 months of testing before it joins the operational fleet, which now numbers three units, NOAA said.

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