NASA/NOAA may have lost GOES East satellite


The GOES East satellite (GOES 12) went through a station keeping maneuver (used to maintain orbit and attitude) yesterday, and then shortly afterwards communications ceased. GOES 12 is no longer delivering satellite imagery. This satellite is used for most eastern US weather forecasting, as well as tropical storm tracking and marine forecasting.

Here is the bulletin from NOAASIS:

A GOES-12 North-South Station Keeping maneuver was performed on Tuesday, December 4, 2007 at 1756 UTC. An anomaly is currently ongoing. NOAA is not receiving GOES-12 (EAST) data until further notice. FULL DISK images are being captured on GOES-11 (WEST) until the problem is resolved. Data Affected by the Outage: GOES-12 (East) Imaging and Soundings data Date and Time of the Outage:12/4/2007, 1715 UTC, 12:15 PM, EST.

And here is the current status report. The words “until further notice” are not at all comforting. If they cannot re-establish communications, the spacecraft will of course be lost.

UPDATE: A backup plan has been implemented

Following the GOES-12 anomaly situation that occurred on December 4, 2007, all GOES Ingest and NOAAPORT Interface (GINI) processing for GINIEAST has been switched to GOES-10. GOES-10 is now scanning imager and sounder in GOES-East mode, and is being ingested and processed through the GINI to NOAAPORT.NOAAPORT users should now see 15 minute Regional sectors being produced from GOES-10, and half hourly National and Super National sectors being produced from GOES-10 and GOES-11, beginning with the 16:01 UTC regional (ECONUS).

UPDATE2: They are working to restore GOES12 and bring GOES13 out of storage, see the latest message here

UPDATE 3: GOOD NEWS They have reacquired the signal from GOES12 !!! The satellite is in safe mode, and may be back online tomorrow. See details here.


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Steve Moore

I didn’t see mention of this in the data book, but I’m hoping the bird is smart enough to try to re-acquire the ground. Some are, but it takes 24 hours or so.


I hope GOES 10 gets the message and reports a stronger storm season.
“Nice Low Earth Orbit you’ve got here. It would be a real shame if something happened to it….”

Steve Moore

Actually, someguy, the “G” in “GOES” stands for “Geostationary”, meaning it’s a l-o-n-g way from “Low Earth Orbit”.
Other than that, it’s a funny thought.

Steve Moore

Anthony, that most recent update suggests that there is contact with the satellite.

Rick H

I’m glad to see that they have another (GOES-13) in storage. Hopefully they will remember which closet they left it in.


Nobody likes a know-it-all (rather, I should say, people with relevant knowledge appear to be viewed with suspicion in “climate science”). 🙂

George M

The local TV weatherpersons were really scrambling on the evening news last night. It was interesting to hear the misinformation they offered about the changed satellite photography. It is wonderful to have Anthony’s blog to let us know what really happened.

Steve Moore

F A R O U T!!
(does that date me?)
In spite of the bad press NASA gets (and the pronouncements of some of their folks) we should remember that the “grunts” are damn good.