Thursday, October 25, 2012

Malfunctioned Satellite Is Back Online

This is a story that happened a while back but is worth noting.  For several weeks, NOAA was utilizing one satellite for coverage of North America as GOES-East (GOES 13) had blacked out.  The satellite returned to operation back on October 18th and is again servicing the eastern half of North America and much of the Atlantic Basin.

GOES 14 was activated from its spare status and was covering North America and the fringes of both oceans while slowly being nudged into the GOES 13 position over the East Coast.  With GOES 13 now active again, 14 goes back into reserve.

Mechanical problems were to blame with the satellite's malfunctioning.  The satellite was shut down for several weeks while scientists worked to figure out the issue.  They restarted the satellite and found it fully operational.

GOES 13 had been the primary satellite for weather along the East Coast and in the Atlantic since activation in April, 2010 and was launched in 2006, left inactive as the "spare" for four years.  GOES satellites typically have a lifespan of ten years so the malfunction of the satellite earlier in September was a disappointment and concern to those involved with the GOES program at NOAA.

The next two satellites in the queue at NOAA will cost at least $7.67 billion and will be launched in 2015 and 2017, respectively.