New weather satellite passes shakedown, operational

It’s always a bit of a worry when you have development times of years, and the lifetimes of operational satellites are just about as long as the development and launch time for new ones. This is good news for weather monitoring.

GOES 15 image of Earth

This visible full-disk image of the Earth was captured by GOES-15 on August 27, 2010 at 1800 UTC (2 p.m. EDT). At that time Hurricane Danielle, Tropical Storm Earl and a tropical wave were occurring in the Atlantic Ocean basin. Credit: NOAA/CIRA

From NOAA press release: NASA and NOAA’s Newest GOES Satellite Ready for Action

GREENBELT, Md. — NASA and NOAA’s latest Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, GOES-15, has successfully completed five months of on-orbit testing and has been accepted into service. The satellite has demonstrated operational readiness of its subsystems, spacecraft instruments and communications services. GOES-15 is the third and final spacecraft in the GOES N-P Series of geostationary environmental weather satellites.

The GOES fleet help NOAA forecasters track life-threatening weather and solar activity that can impact the satellite-based electronics and communications industry. During the checkout period, GOES-15 delivered high-resolution images from space, including the first visible and infrared images of Earth taken by its imager instrument, and the first image of the sun taken by its solar X-ray imager instrument.

“NASA is ecstatic that we were able to deliver on our promise to provide NOAA and this Nation with three geosynchronous weather satellites,” said Andre Dress, GOES Deputy Project Manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. “From the very beginning, we set the bar high and we have attained all our goals. It is something that NASA and its contractors (Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems, Lockheed Martin, ITT and United Launch Alliance) can be very proud of.”

NOAA operates GOES-13 in the east and GOES-11 in the west — both provide weather observations covering more than 50 percent of the Earth’s surface. The GOES-15 spacecraft, designed and built by Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems, will be placed in an on-orbit storage location at 105 degrees west longitude should one of the operational GOES satellites degrade or exhaust their fuel. It will share a parking space with GOES-14, currently in the same storage orbit. Both satellites can be made operational within 24 hours to replace an older satellite.

“With more than 35 million Americans living in hurricane-prone areas, we need the reliable, accurate data GOES provide,” said Gary Davis, director of the Office of Systems Development at NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service.

A six-minute view of the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season as seen from space by GOES-12, formerly the East Coast GOES sentinel, is available online. The video highlights NASA technology and NOAA satellite data.

NOAA manages the GOES program, establishes requirements, provides all funding and distributes environmental satellite data for the United States. NASA Goddard procures and manages the design, development and launch of the satellites for NOAA on a cost reimbursable basis.

For more information about the GOES-15 mission and program on the Web, visit:

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September 1, 2010 9:01 pm

seems to be a link missing at the end

John F. Hultquist
September 1, 2010 9:01 pm

Not to mention the storm building west of Mexico and the ITCZ (apparently) at 10 degrees N. Lat.
Everything south of that in the Pacific seems to be quite disorganized except way off in the lower left.
The low clouds (fog ?) along the N. & S. Chilean coast and the dry interior are regular features.

Leon Brozyna
September 1, 2010 10:01 pm

They can do such good work when they stick to science and technology and leave the politicized science to the likes of Al Gore and other silly fools.

Martin C
September 1, 2010 10:48 pm

Very nice picture!
And my first thought was, “I am surprised how much CLOUD COVER there is – it sure must reflect quite a bit of sunlight . . .! ”
I think it was Dr. Roy Spencer who has commented that cloud cover isn’t adequately addressed in GCMs, from both amount of cloud cover, and whether they result in more ‘cooling’ (from reflecting sunglight), or ‘heating’ (keep long wave radiation by the earth from escaping back to space). .

September 2, 2010 4:17 am

Good golley – it’s about time they put it to storage. They have only been ‘testing’ it for the past year & half and that is using up valuable resources which will not be available when it goes into full operations which may need to be extended if GOES-R is delayed.
Time will tell.

September 2, 2010 8:07 am

Is there any new or groundbreaking instrumentation aboard this spacecraft? The image in the introduction was quite impressive. The high-res camera seems to be working well.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
September 2, 2010 11:02 am

Current link for above press release:
What’s missing at the end (in press release, they used “right arrows” as list “bullets” which might screw up the actual reposting here if interpreted as HTML):

September 2, 2010 2:42 pm

Erthdog said –
“Is there any new or groundbreaking instrumentation aboard this spacecraft? The image in the introduction was quite impressive. The high-res camera seems to be working well.”
No, that is the standard visible channel at 1 km resolution that has been on most all of the GOES family spacecraft. Now, for GOES-R (the next spacecraft family), it will go down to 1/4km res in the visible & 1km in multiple IR channels & faster scanning of the image area…but no hyperspectral sounder.

Terri Jackson
September 5, 2010 9:23 am

note climate notes and wind power letter on

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