The GOES system is a basic element of U.S. weather monitoring and forecast operations and is a key component of NOAA's National Weather Service operations and modernization program. Spacecraft and ground-based systems work together to accomplish the GOES mission of providing weather imagery and quantitative sounding data that form a continuous and reliable stream of environmental information used for weather forecasting and related services.

The new series of GOES satellites provides significant improvements over the previous GOES system in weather imagery and atmospheric sounding information. This enhanced system improves weather services, particularly the forecasting of life- and property-threatening severe storms.

GOES I-M represents the next generation of meteorological satellites and introduces two new features. The first feature, flexible scan, offers small-scale area imaging that lets meteorologists take pictures of local weather trouble spots. This allows them to improve short-term forecasts over local areas. The second feature, simultaneous and independent imaging and sounding, is designed to allow weather forecasters to use multiple measurements of weather phenomena to increase the accuracy of their forecasts.