Friday, July 10, 2009

New GOES satellite reaches orbit

In case you missed it, Boeing/NASA/NOAA sent a new weather satellite into space onboard a Delta IV rocket back on June 27. This satellite, named GOES-O (the letter, not the number 0), has been maneuvering around to get into final orbit for the past couple weeks and on Wednesday reached its final destination at 22,300 miles up at 89.5 degrees West longitude. At that time, it was re-named GOES-14.

Up to this point, Boeing has been calling the shots for GOES-O/14, but next Friday, the reins will be handed off the NASA for approximately 5 months while it completes on-orbit checkout. The first image from the new satellite will be produced July 27. Then, the spacecraft gets handed over to NOAA, where it becomes a "hot spare," fully ready to jump in in case of a failure of one of the other GOES satellites that are currently providing the shots of the weather over the western hemisphere.

Those satellites, which are one generation older than GOES-14, are GOES-11 (or GOES-West, covering the western U.S.) and GOES-12 (or GOES-East, covering the eastern U.S.). There are two other GOES satellites floating over the Earth - GOES-10 covering South America and GOES-13, a sister to GOES-14 and also in standby mode.

For more information on GOES-O, check out this NASA site or NOAA's Office of Satellite Operations.

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