In the spring of 1994, the first of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) next generation of geostationary satellites, GOES-I, is scheduled for launch. The introduction of this major component of NOAA's modernization represents a significant advance in geostationary remote sensing. All major components of the GOES-I system are new or greatly improved: 1 ) the satellite is earth oriented to improve instrument performance; 2) sounding and imaging operations are now performed by different and separate instruments; 3) a five-band multispectral radiometer with higher spatial resolution improves imaging capabilities; 4) a sounder with higher radiometric sensitivity enables operational temperature and moisture profile retrieval from geostationary altitude for the first time; 5) a different data format is used to retransmit raw data to direct receive users; and 6) a new ground data processing system handles the high data volume and distributes advanced products to a variety of users.

This article describes the features of the GOES-I spacecraft and instruments, imaging and sounding schedules, data handling systems, and remote sensing products. Simulations of GOES-I imager and sounder products are presented and compared with GOES-7 products. The simulations show that GOES-I imagery, derived product images, and sounder products should be significant improvements in both frequency of coverage and accuracy.