The satellites circle the Earth at a speed that matches the planet's own rotation, according to NOAA. Because of the matching speed, the satellites are able to continuously hover over one position about 22,000 miles above the Earth's surface.
By holding that fixed position, they are able to steadily monitor and track severe weather conditions, such as tornadoes, hurricanes and flash floods.
NOAA's GOES satellites captured a global view of Hurricane Sandy's birth to landfall. (Credit: NASA GOES Project)
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about emerging technologies in Computerworld's Emerging Technologies Topic Center.