Objectives: The third operational satellite in NOAA's geosynchronous weather
satellite system. The satellite was designed to sense meteorological
conditions from a fixed location above the Earth, and to provide this data
to operational forecasters and private interests on the ground. This
satellite was designed to replace GOES-1 over the Indian Ocean as part of
the Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP).
The spacecraft was a
cylinder 75 inches in diameter, 106 inches high and weighed 650 pounds. The
sides of the cylinder were covered by 15,000 solar cells which, along with
nicad batteries, provided the power for the craft. A single triangular
magnetometer unit was located on the top of the craft which extended 33".
The spacecraft was spin stabilized and rotated at 100 revolutions per
The principle instrument on board was the Visible Infrared Spin
Scan Radiometer (VISSR) which provided day and night imagery of cloud
conditions over the full-disk. The satellite had the capability to
continuously monitor cataclysmic weather events such as hurricanes and
typhoons, relay meteorological data from over 10,000 surface locations into
a central processing center for incorporation into numerical weather
prediction models, and to perform facsimile transmission of processed
images and weather maps to WEFAX field stations. In addition, a Space
Environment Monitor (SEM) and Data Collection System (DCS) similar to those
on the NOAA polar orbiters were installed.
GOES-3 was placed in a
geostationary orbit directly over the equator over the Indian Ocean to
replace GOES-1 as part of GARP (GOES-1 was then moved to replace SMS-2 ).
GOES-3 is still in its position over the Indian Ocean but is of limited use
due to decaying parts
Participants: NASA, NOAA, Ford Aerospace, McDonnell Douglas
June 16, 1978
1978 -1993. Re-activated in 1995 to transmit educational programming throughout the Hawaiian Islands from the University of Hawaii.
Cape Canaveral, FL
1968 - 1977
1978 - 1987
1988 - 1997