The GOES satellites will fly a Hyperspectral Environmental Suite (HES) on GOES-R in the 2012 timeframe. The approximately 1500 spectral channels (technically ultraspectral), leading to improved vertical resolution, and approximately five times faster coverage rate planned for the sounder in this suite will greatly exceed the capabilities of the current GOES series instrument with its 18 spectral channels. In the GOES-R timeframe, frequent measurements afforded by geostationary orbits will be critical for numerical weather prediction models. Since the current GOES soundings are assimilated into numerical weather prediction models to improve the validity of model outputs, particularly in areas with little radiosonde coverage, this hyperspectral capability in the thermal infrared will significantly improve sounding performance for weather prediction in the western hemisphere, while providing and enhancing other products. Finer spatial resolution is planned for mesoscale observation of water vapor variations. The improvements over the previous GOES sounders and a primary difference from other planned instruments stem from two-dimensional focal plane array availability. These carry an additional set of challenges in terms of instrument specifications, which will be discussed. As a suite, HES is planned with new capabilities for coastal ocean coverage with the goal of including open ocean coverage. These new planned imaging applications, which will be either multispectral or hyperspectral, will also be discussed.