SpaceX launch of Spaceflight SSO-A

December 3rd, 2018 |
GOES-17 Upper-level (6.2 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Low-level (7.3 µm) Water Vapor, plus Near-Infrared

GOES-17 Upper-level (6.2 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Low-level (7.3 µm) Water Vapor, plus Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images [click to enlarge]

* GOES-17 images shown here are preliminary and non-operational *

SpaceX launched a Spaceflight SSO-A mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base (KVBG) in California at 1834 UTC on 03 December 2018. GOES-17 Upper-level (6.2 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Low-level (7.3 µm) Water Vapor images in addition to Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm), Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) showed the hot thermal signature of superheated air from the booster rocket engines, along with a brief cold thermal signature of the booster engine condensation cloud on Water Vapor images. A second hot thermal signature was seen over the adjacent waters of the Pacific Ocean at 1840 UTC as the first stage rocket fired its entry burn to land on a drone ship. Since a GOES-17 Mesoscale Domain Sector was positioned over that region, images were available at 1-minute intervals.

2 Responses to “SpaceX launch of Spaceflight SSO-A”

  1. ENL says:

    Raising the color bar: What are the units and their values? It also appears that the loops are mixing the proverbial apples and oranges: brightness temperature and visible reflectance/albedo. I don’t use the same colors on my images and I’m not sure you are using the same ranges either – what do the colors represent?

  2. Scott Bachmeier says:

    In the 1.61 µm and 2.24 µm Near-Infrared images, brighter whites indicate a higher reflectance value — which, in this case, is also driven by a hot thermal signature since each of those 2 spectral bands are sensitive to thermal energy (hence the term “near-infrared”). In the 3.9 µm Shortwave Infrared image, the color scale transitions from hot infrared brightness temperatures [ºC] on the left to cold on the right. The same principle applies to the 7.3 µm, 6.9 µm and 6.2 µm Water Vapor images — since these are essentially infrared spectral bands, their color scales also transition from warm brightness temperatures [ºC] on the left to cold on the right. If you’d like more information about each of the GOES-17 ABI spectral bands shown in this blog post, I have provided links to their respective Quick Guides. Hope this helps.

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