Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite

Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (or GOES) program is a key element in United States' National Weather Service (NWS) operations. GOES weather imagery and quantitative sounding data are a continuous and reliable stream of environmental information used to support weather forecasting, severe storm tracking, and meteorological research. Evolutionary improvements in the geostationary satellite system since 1974 (the launch of the first Synchronous Meteorological Satellite, SMS-1) have been responsible for making the current GOES system the basic element for U.S. weather monitoring and forecasting. Spacecraft and ground-based systems work together to accomplish the GOES mission.


Four GOES satellites are currently available for operational use:
* GOES-10 is currently located at 60°W and provides coverage of South America. [cite web|url=|title=GOES-10 Spacecraft Status Summary|accessmonthday=August 25 |accessyear=2006] See note below.
* GOES-11 is designated GOES-West, currently located at 135°W over the Pacific Ocean. [cite web|url=|title=GOES-11 Spacecraft Status Summary|accessmonthday=August 25 |accessyear=2006]
* GOES-12 is designated GOES-East, currently located at 75°W over the Amazon River. [cite web|url=|title=GOES-12 Spacecraft Status Summary|accessmonthday=August 25 |accessyear=2006] It provides most of the U.S. weather information.
* GOES-13 is in on-orbit storage at 105°W. [cite web |url= |title=GOES 13 Spacecraft Status Summary |publisher=NOAA]

Several GOES satellites are still in orbit, either inactive or repurposed. GOES-3 is no longer used for weather operations, but is a critical part of the communication links between the United States and Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. A nine meter dish was constructed at the station, and communication with the satellite is possible for approximately five hours per day. Data rates are around 2.048 Mbit/s bi-directional under optimum conditions. GOES-8 (GOES-East when it was in operation) is in a parking orbit, currently drifting about 4°W daily. [cite web|url=|title=GOES-8 Spacecraft Status Summary|accessmonthday=August 25 |accessyear=2006] It was decommissioned on April 1, 2003, and deactivated on May 5, 2004, after the failure of its propulsion system. [cite web|url=|title=NOAA DEACTIVATES GOES-8 AFTER 10 YEARS OF SERVICE|accessmonthday=August 25 |accessyear=2006]

Communication was lost for 13 days to GOES-12 on December 4, 2007 when it performed a standard station-keeping maneuver. GOES-11 initially took "full disk" images to cover the lost data until a contingency plan could be implemented. [ cite web|url=|title=GOES-12 Status Bulletin|accessmonthday=December 5 |accessyear=2007] On December 5, 2007, GOES-10 was moved from South America operations to temporarily replace GOES-12 as the GOES-EAST operational satellite. [cite web|url=|title=CIMSS GOES Blog|accessmonthday=December 7 |accessyear=2007] On 9 December, communication with GOES-10 was also temporarily lost, but communication was resumed via a backup antenna. [ [ GOES-10 Status Bulletin] ] GOES-12 was successfully reactivated and moved back to normal operation following a thrust maneuver on 17 December. [cite web|url=|title=GOES-12 Status Bulletin|accessmonthday=December 17 |accessyear=2007]


Designed to operate in geostationary orbit, 35,790 km (22,240 statute miles) above the earth, thereby remaining stationary (with respect to a point on the ground), the advanced GOES I–M spacecraft continuously view the continental United States, neighboring environs of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and Central, South America and southern Canada. The three-axis, body-stabilized spacecraft design enables the sensors to "stare" at the earth and thus more frequently image clouds, monitor earth's surface temperature and water vapour fields, and sound the atmosphere for its vertical thermal and vapor structures. Thus the evolution of atmospheric phenomena can be followed, ensuring real-time coverage of short-lived dynamic events, especially severe local storms and tropical cyclones—two meteorological events that directly affect public safety, protection of property, and ultimately, economic health and development. The importance of this capability has recently been exemplified during hurricanes Hugo (1989) and Andrew (1992).

The GOES I–M series of spacecraft are the principal observational platforms for covering such dynamic weather events and the near-earth space environment for the 1990s and into the 21st century. These advanced spacecraft enhance the capability of the GOES system to continuously observe and measure meteorological phenomena in real time, providing the meteorological community and atmospheric scientists greatly improved observational and measurement data of the Western Hemisphere. In addition to short-term weather forecasting and space environmental monitoring, these enhanced operational services also improve support for atmospheric science research, numerical weather prediction models, and environmental sensor design and development. Data is received via the NOAA Command and Data Acquisition ground station at Wallops Island, Virginia [ [ GOES-I/M MISSION, Goddard Space Flight Center (Accessed 17 Mar 2008)] ] The GOES satellites are controlled from the Satellite Operations Control Center (SOCC) located in Suitland, Maryland. During significant weather or other events the normal schedules can be altered to provide coverage requested by the National Weather Service and other agencies.


The main mission is carried out by the primary payload instruments, the Imager and the Sounder. The Imager is a multichannel instrument that senses infrared radiant energy and visible reflected solar energy from the earth's surface and atmosphere. The Sounder provides data for vertical atmospheric temperature and moisture profiles, surface and cloud top temperature, and ozone distribution.

Other instruments on board the spacecraft are the ground-based meteorological platform data collection and relay, and the space environment monitor. The latter consists of a magnetometer, an X-ray sensor, a high energy proton and alpha detector, and an energetic particles sensor, all used for in-situ surveying of the near-earth space environment.

In addition, the GOES satellites carry Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) and Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) receivers, which are used for search-and-rescue purposes by the U.S. Air Force Rescue Coordination Center.


GOES spacecraft have been manufactured by Boeing (GOES D-H and N–P) and Space Systems/Loral (A–C, I–M). The procurement, design and manufacturing of GOES is overseen by NASA, while all operations of the satellites once in orbit are done by NOAA. Twelve contracts for advanced architecture studies for GOES-R were announced in October 2003.

Once a GOES satellite is launched successfully, it is redesignated with a number. GOES-A to GOES-F became GOES-1 to GOES-6, GOES-G was a failure, GOES-H to GOES-M became GOES-7 to GOES-12.

GOES-13 (which was designated GOES-N prior to orbiting) was launched by a Delta IV rocket from Launch Complex 37B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 22:11 GMT May 24, 2006.cite web | url = | title = NASA's Shuttle and Rocket Missions | work = NASA | accessmonthday = April 14 | accessyear = 2006] Repeated glitches in the rocket and weather issues delayed the launch starting in late July 2005. GOES-O will launch no earlier than 2008-12-16 on a Delta IV rocket.cite web | url = | title = GOES-O Spacecraft | publisher = Kennedy Space Center | accessmonthday = June 5 | accessyear = 2008] GOES-P will be launched on 30 May 2009. GOES-Q has no spacecraft manufacturer or launch date.

In October 2006, NOAA repositioned GOES-10 over the Amazon region, to provide full time coverage for South American countries. Although NOAA currently sends images to South America, the frequency drops from 30-minutes to 3 hour whenever a storm occurs in North America, which is roughly 40% of the time during the hurricane season.cite web | url = | title = U.S. to Reposition Satellite Over Amazon | work = Associated Press | accessmonthday = April 17 | accessyear = 2006 ]

"Note: original entry taken from " [ GOES I–M Databook] " foreword"


The GOES-R series of spacecraft is in the formulation phase. The first GOES-R series satellite is scheduled for launch in fiscal year 2015. [cite web |url= |title=GOES-R Program Office |publisher=NOAA/NASA] The proposed instrument package for the series is as follows: the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI); the Hyperspectral Environmental Suite (HES) (Due to cost and schedule risk of HES, it is no longer part of GOES-R. A replacement instrument is in discussion); the Space Environment In-Situ Suite (SEISS), which includes a Magnetospheric Particle Sensor (MPS), an Energetic Heavy Ion Sensor (EHIS), and a Solar and Galactic Proton Sensor (SGPS); the Solar Imaging Suite (SIS), which includes the Solar X-Ray Imager (SXI), the Solar X-Ray Sensor (SXS), and the Extreme Ultraviolet Sensor (EUVS); the GEO Lightning Mapper (GLM); and the Magnetometer.cite web | url = | title = GOES-R Spacecraft | work = Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite Program (GOES) | publisher = Goddard Space Flight Center | accessmonthday = April 14 | accessyear = 2006]

The GOES-R satellite series is expected to remain operational through December 2027. [cite web |url= |title=GOES-R Overview |publisher=GOES-R Program Office]

History/status of GOES satellites

* GOES-1, launched on October 16, 1975, "decommissioned"
* GOES-2, launched on June 16, 1977, "decommissioned"
* GOES-3, launched on June 16, 1978, "used as a communications relay for the South Pole research station."
* GOES-4, launched on September 9, 1980, "decommissioned"
* GOES-5, launched on May 22, 1981, "deactivated on July 18, 1990"
* GOES-6, launched on April 28, 1983, "decommissioned"
* GOES-7, launched April 28, 1987, "decommissioned"
* GOES-8, launched on April 13, 1994, "decommissioned"
* GOES-9, launched on May 23, 1995, "decommissioned on June 15, 2007"
* GOES-10, launched on April 25, 1997, "in operation"
* GOES-11, launched on May 3, 2000, "in operation"
* GOES-12, launched on July 23, 2001, "in operation [] "
* GOES-13, launched on May 24, 2006, "orbiting - in storage"

ee also

* GOES launch record
* Applications Technology Satellites - six early geosynchronous satellites that carried communications, meteorology and navigation payloads
* Emergency position-indicating radio beacon
* MTSAT, Japanese weather satellite program
* Polar Operational Environmental Satellites
* Remote sensing
* weather satellite


External links

* [ GOES Operations on NOAA website]
* [ GOES-R article]
* [ LM/SAIC/IBM partnership announced for GOES]
* [ GOES gallery]
* [ Archived and current GOES image viewer]
* [ Social & Economic Benefits of GOES] from "NOAA Socioeconomics" website initiative
* [ Introduction to satellite imagery]

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