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Orbital Imager to Track Lightning for Early Warning System
Oct 2014
PALO ALTO, Calif., Oct. 16, 2014 — A satellite imager planned for launch in 2016 will detect lightning flashes across the U.S. to provide early warnings for severe weather.

Developed by Lockheed Martin, the heart of the instrument is a 500-fps, 1.8-megapixel focal plane, integrated with low-noise electronics and specialized optics to detect weak lightning signals, even against bright, sunlit cloud backgrounds. It also incorporates a new technique that delivers sharp resolution at the edge of its observable area, compensating for the curvature of the Earth.

“A rapid increase of in-cloud lightning can precede severe weather on the ground,” said Lockheed deputy program manager Russell Katz. “Changes in that type of lightning can also give us a better understanding of the updraft strength in thunderstorms.”

The Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) will fly on the first of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s next-generation Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) missions, known as the GOES-R Series.

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