NOAA To Relocate Balky GOES Weather Satellite

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is repositioning one of its geostationary-orbiting weather satellites to replace a malfunctioning craft that had been overlooking the U.S. East Coast.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-14 has already taken over observations from the GOES-13 satellite, whose sounder and imager instruments were switched off Sept. 23 due to what NOAA characterized as “data quality issues.” GOES-14 is now on its way to the balky spacecraft’s 75 degrees west longitude orbital slot, where it is expected to arrive in 33 days, NOAA said in an Oct. 1 press release.

Engineers are still assessing what went wrong with GOES-13, which will be moved to an orbital storage spot once GOES-14 arrives, NOAA said.

NOAA typically utilizes two GOES spacecraft, one overlooking the East Coast and one covering the West Coast of the U.S. mainland. The satellites monitor weather conditions across the country and watch for severe storms approaching each coast.

Currently there are four GOES spacecraft on orbit, the newest being GOES-15, which currently overlooks the West Coast. GOES-14 had been serving as a spare until the glitch occurred on GOES-13. The oldest of these craft is GOES-12, which launched in 2001 and is currently observing South America.

NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service operates the U.S. government’s civilian weather satellites, which include spacecraft in polar low Earth orbit that provide global coverage.