Architecture-level studies have assessed the merits of a Distributed architecture for NOAA's next-generation Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites, the GOES-R series. In contrast with the historical Consolidated architecture, which aggregates all GOES instruments on a single platform at each of the 75 and 135 W operating locations, the proposed Distributed architectures split up the GOES instrument suites onto multiple platforms, with sets of platforms located at each longitude. Analyses demonstrate significant advantages to distributing GOES instruments across multiple platforms, including superior deployment options and significantly increased system-level reliability. These benefits can substantially lower overall risk exposure and increase the on-orbit constellation life. In addition, the properties of Distributed architectures permit several features that provide substantial benefit for GOES-R and follow-on systems. These features include enhanced measurements and better requirements allocation, enabling performance and cost advantages for future pre-planned instrument enhancements. Distributed architectures also enable superior upgrade paths through better options for demonstrating and validating new technologies, inserting new technologies (such as microwave sensors) into existing constellations, and refreshing on-orbit instruments.