U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker Addresses GOES-R Launch Ceremony

Nov192016

AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY
Saturday, November 19, 2016

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker delivered remarks at the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R Series (GOES-R) Launch Ceremony at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The GOES-R is the nation’s next generation of geostationary weather satellites that will significantly improve the critical oceanic and atmospheric data needed to identify severe weather threats and issue lifesaving forecasts.

In her remarks, Secretary Pritzker recognized the hard work that has gone into the satellite and launch efforts of GOES-R. Secretary Pritzker highlighted how good data from the satellite can save lives and inform business decisions for economic growth, touching the lives of all Americans.

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Dr. Sullivan, for your outstanding leadership. I am thrilled to be here with you this afternoon to witness this historic occasion.

While it will only take two weeks for GOES-R to travel from Cape Canaveral to its new home 22,300 miles above our heads, today’s launch is the culmination of more than a decade of hard work, sacrifice, and ingenuity.

Now, I know I’m the only person speaking today who is not a scientist. So let me skip over the technical details and get right to the heart of what GOES-R means for American businesses, communities, and families.

With GOES-R delivering much sharper images more regularly, forecasters will be able to deliver even more accurate forecasts and warnings.

Consider what this improved accuracy will mean the next time a hurricane bears down on the Space Coast.

If you live down just down the coast in Vero Beach, you will be able to use your phone to track how the storm will specifically affect not just your town but the street where your children are in school.

If you work at an insurance company, you will be able to send micro-targeted text messages warnings to customers living in the areas that will be hit the hardest – protecting not only their lives but their cars and homes while saving the company from costly claims.

And if you are a federal resource coordinator at FEMA, forecasts based on GOES-R data will help you better determine before a storm even makes landfall which blocks will need the most resources. Weather data is more than obscure numbers on a computer screen.

Good data – deployed effectively – can save lives. It can make communities more resilient. It can even inform business decisions.

When GOES-R leaves the Earth this afternoon and flies skyward towards its new home in the cosmos, it begins the next phase of a journey that will touch the lives of each and every American.

I want to congratulate the entire GOES-R team on this extraordinary achievement. Thank you.

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