GOES-15, the newest spacecraft in the U.S. fleet of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES), replaced GOES-11 as the GOES-West satellite Dec. 6, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced the day of the transition.

GOES-11, a Space Systems/Loral-built spacecraft known as GOES-L prior to entering operations, was launched in May 2000 aboard an Atlas 2A rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. NOAA said the satellite will be boosted into a graveyard orbit approximately 300 kilometers above its geostationary orbit.

GOES-15, the final satellite in the Boeing-built GOES-N, -O, -P series of satellites, was launched in March 2010 atop a Delta 4 rocket from Cape Canaveral. The satellite, known as GOES-P at the time of launch, carries four main instruments, including an Earth imager and sounder, a space environment monitor and an instrument that takes images of the sun.

NOAA’s next-generation geostationary satellites, the GOES-R series, are under development at Denver-based Lockheed Martin Space Systems. Slated to start launching in late 2015, they eventually will replace the current operational satellites, including GOES-15.