After more than 13 years of helping to predict weather and climate patterns and save lives in search and rescue operations, NOAA announced yesterday it has turned off the NOAA-16 Polar-Orbiting Environmental Satellite (POES). It was one of NOAA's longest operating spacecraft, which have a planned lifespan of three to five years. It was launched in 2000 and replaced by NOAA-18 as the primary POES satellite in 2005. The shutdown will result in no data gap, as NOAA-16 was being used as a back-up satellite. As the spacecraft aged, several key systems on board became inoperable, while others continued to provide potentially useful information that was available if needed. NOAA will continue operating several POES spacecraft – NOAA-15, NOAA-18 and NOAA-19 – in addition to Suomi NPP, which is now NOAA’s primary operational polar satellite. NOAA’s POES spacecraft fly a lower, pole-to-pole orbit, capturing atmospheric data from space that feed NOAA’s weather and climate prediction models. NOAA began the deactivation process of NOAA-16 yesterday morning, with the final shut down occurring June 9, 2014 at 10:20 a.m. Launched in September 2000, NOAA-16 made 70,655 successful orbits of the globe, traveling more than 2.1 billion miles, while collecting huge amounts of valuable temperature, moisture and image data. “NOAA-16 helped our forecasters detect the early stages of severe weather from tornadoes and snow storms to hurricanes, including the busiest hurricane season on record – 2005,” said Mary Kicza, assistant administrator of NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service. “NOAA-16’s long life is a credit to the engineers, who built and operated it and the technology that sustained it. Although NOAA-16 is retired, we still operate a dependable, robust fleet of satellites that continue to provide crucial data.” This image of Hurricane Katrina was taken by the NOAA-16 AVHRR instrument at 2010Z on August 28, 2005.