Aging GOES-7 Placed In Graveyard Orbit

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The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said April 12 it retired one of its earliest geostationary weather satellites, Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-7.

In a posting on its website, NOAA said it moved GOES-7 300 kilometers above its operating orbit to a so-called graveyard orbit.  “The final maneuver to adjust the spin rate of the spacecraft and deplete all remaining fuel happened at 2 a.m. EDT today,” NOAA said. “The communications packages were turned off then and the satellite powered down.”

GOES-7, which launched in 1987, was taken out of operational service in 1999 due to its age. The spacecraft was then leased to an educational organization that used it for communications.

Currently, NOAA operates GOES-13 and GOES-15, which provide coverage of the United States and the Western Hemisphere. NOAA has two other geostationary satellites in orbit: GOES-12, which provides data for meteorologists in South America, and GOES-14, which is in a storage orbit as a backup satellite.