NESDIS News Archive

NOAA’s GOES-13 reactivated, as engineers pinpoint cause of trouble, GOES-14 still temporary GOES-East satellite

May 29, 2013

GOES Satellite

GOES-13 Satellite-Artist Rendering

NOAA officials are bringing the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-13 out of orbital storage mode, allowing engineers to continue analyzing data from the spacecraft and instruments to pinpoint the source of a change in motion that caused its instruments to automatically shut down last week.

GOES-13, the GOES-East satellite, stopped producing imaging and sounding data on May 22. As an immediate, temporary measure, NOAA configured GOES-15, the West Coast satellite parked at 135 degrees longitude, to provide additional coverage of the eastern United States and part of the Atlantic Ocean. During the early hours of May 23, NOAA then activated GOES-14 from its orbital storage position at 105 degrees W longitude to provide coverage of the East Coast and will continue to operate as the temporary GOES-East satellite, while engineers analyze GOES- 13.

"As we've already seen this year, severe weather is a constant, potentially deadly, threat in the United States, which means NOAA’s satellites -- including the back-ups -- must be ready for action, so the flow of data and imagery can continue without interruption," said Mary Kicza, assistant administrator for NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service.

NOAA is prepared to move GOES-14 eastward to better enable NOAA forecasters to track severe weather that impacts the East Coast, including any potential tropical activity brewing in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf Coast.

At all times, NOAA operates two GOES spacecraft – one in the East and the other in the West – both hovering 22,300 miles above the equator. NOAA always keeps an additional GOES in orbital storage mode ready to step in if one of the active satellites experiences trouble.

Additionally, NOAA operates the polar-operational environmental satellite (POES) program – satellites that fly 540 miles above Earth's surface, circling near the North and South poles. POES data are critical for long-term forecasts.

"NOAA also has long-standing strategic partnerships with other international space agencies to provide back up support, as needed, when an anomaly occurs with our satellites," Kicza added.

NOAA manages the operational environmental satellite program and establishes requirements, provides all funding and distributes environmental satellite data for the United States. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., procures and manages the development and launch of the satellites for NOAA on a cost reimbursable basis.

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