Tuesday, April 13, 2010

GOES-13 begins operational life as GOES-East

A new generation of weather-watching satellites comes online in an official capacity tomorrow, April 14, 2010 at 2:34pm CDT. At that time, GOES-13 (GOES-N when originally launched in May 2006) will replace GOES-12 as the operational satellite covering the eastern portion of the United States and Northern Hemisphere. It will frequently be referred to simply as GOES-East. The satellite will maintain a vigilant watch from an altitude of 22,240 statute miles at 75 degrees west longitude, beaming back images every 15 minutes around the clock. It's expected lifespan is 10 years or more. The current satellite, GOES-12, will move to a position at 60 degrees west in which it can cover South America following the decommissioning of GOES-10, which had that duty until December 2009.

GOES-13 is the first of three third-generation NOAA satellites (GOES N-P) to go into full operation. GOES-O (-14) and -P are in orbit in standby mode (GOES-P having just arrived in orbit in the past month). The GOES satellites (which stands for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) provide meteorologists and reseachers with a vital tool in monitoring weather conditions and tracking severe storms. They maintain a geosynchronous orbit - staying in the same position over the earth at all times.
The next generation of GOES satellites, the highly-anticipated GOES-R series, will carry even more advanced technology than the current satellites, including much higher spatial and temporal resolution and realtime lightning mapping. The first is scheduled to be launched aboard a Delta IV rocket in 2015.
For more information on the GOES satellites, visit these links:
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