GOES-NEWS last update 14 April 2017
DISCLAIMER: This information is my best effort to provide highlights about the GOES project. It is not official, and probably contains errors in detail, but it gives you an idea of what is going on...
Dennis Chesters, GOES flight project scientist, 1992->now
GOES Program Documents
Thumbnail History of GOES Launches, as of 2011
- FIRST GENERATION (Ford)
SMS-1 (SMS-A) was launched on May 17, 1974 from Cape Canaveral, FL. It was the first geostationary meteorological satellite, a NASA demonstration of using a spinning satellite to raster-scan a time-series of Earth images.
SMS-2 (SMS-B) was launched on February 6, 1975. It was the second NASA demonstration, equipped with a VISRR, SEM, and DCS, and had WEFAX capability.
GOES-1 (GOES-A) was launched on October 16, 1975. It was the first in the series of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites built for NOAA.
GOES-2 (GOES-B) was launched on June 16, 1977. GOES-2 was placed in orbit directly over the equator at 60 W to replace SMS-1.
GOES-3 (GOES-C) was launched on June 16, 1978. The satellite was used to replace GOES-1 and to support the Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP) over the Indian Ocean. GOES-3 was the last of the Ford Aerospace-built first generation of GOES.
- SECOND GENERATION (Hughes)
GOES-4 (GOES-D) was launched on September 9, 1980. It was the first geostationary satellite to provide continuous vertical profiles of atmospheric temperature and moisture, which its primary instrument, the VISSR Atmospheric Sounder (VAS), provided. GOES-4 was placed in orbit at 135 W to replace the failing GOES-3.
GOES-5 (GOES-E) was launched on May 22, 1981. It was placed in orbit at 75 W longitude. The satellite failed on July 29, 1984, when a VAS encoder lamp filament burned out that was needed to read the angle of the scan mirror used to obtain images. It was deactivated on July 18, 1990.
GOES-6 (GOES-F) was launched on April 28, 1983. It was designed to replace GOES-4 and was originally placed in orbit at 136 W. After GOES-5 failed, it was moved to a central location at 98 W. When GOES-7 was placed in service, it was returned to its original location.
GOES-G was launched on May 3, 1986, from a Delta 3914 launch vehicle. The spacecraft did not reach operational orbit because of a failure in the launch vehicle.
GOES-7 (GOES-H) was launched on February 26, 1987 and placed in orbit at 75 W. In addition to the same instrument complement as the earlier GOES, GOES-7 carried experimental search and rescue equipment that allowed near-instantaneous detection of emergency distress signals on the ground transmitting at 406 MHz. GOES-7 was the last of the Hughes-built second generation of spin-scan GOES satellites.
- THIRD GENERATION (Loral, formerly Ford)
GOES-8 (GOES-I) was launched on April 13, 1994. It was the first in a new series of three axis stabilized GOES that provided significant improvements over the previous GOES spin-stabilized spacecraft in weather imagery and atmospheric sounding information. The satellite was equipped with a separate Imager and Sounder, which allowed simultaneous and independent imaging and sounding. It was deactivated in April 2003 and de-orbited in May 2004.
GOES-9 (GOES-J) was launched on May 23, 1995 into a geostationary orbit at 135 W. It was deactivated on July 28, 1998, because of failing bearings in the momentum wheels. In 2002-2003, GOES-9 was revived by NOAA to provide a temporary on-orbit replacement for Japan's failing GMS-5 satellite. It then returned to on-orbit storage until it was de-orbited in June 2007.
GOES-10 (GOES-K) was launched April 25, 1997, and was placed in orbit at 105 W. When GOES-9 began experiencing problems with its momentum wheels, GOES-10 was placed in active service as GOES-West, positioned at 135 W until June 2006. Late in 2006, NOAA moved GOES-10 to 60 W to devote scan time to covering South America. It was de-orbited in December 2009.
GOES-11 (GOES-L) was launched May 3, 2000, and placed in storage mode at 105 W in August 2000. In June 2006, GOES-11 was revived to replace GOES-10 as GOES-WEST at 135 W. In December 2011, GOES-11 was decommissioned as GOES-WEST, and then moved to a higher graveyard orbit.
GOES-12 (GOES-M) was launched July 23, 2001. It is the first GOES to fly an SXI-type instrument. In April 2003, GOES-12 became GOES-East at 75 W. Running low on fuel, GOES-12 was decommissioned as GOES-East in April 2010, and moved to 60 W to devote scan time to covering South America. In August 2013, GOES-12 was decommissioned and moved to a higher graveyard orbit. GOES-12 was the last of the Loral-built third generation GOES satellites.
- FOURTH GENERATION (Boeing, formerly Hughes)
GOES-13 (GOES-N) lifted off aboard a Boeing Delta IV rocket on May 24, 2006. The Boeing-supplied satellite uses star trackers that provide more stable Earth-pointing than the previous 5 satellites. In April 2010, GOES-13 replaced GOES-12 as GOES-East at 75 W.
GOES-14 (GOES-O) was launched June 27, 2009. After a six-month checkout, GOES-14 was placed in on-orbit storage at 105 W, expected achieve at least 10 years of fuel lifetime (5 years of on orbit storage, and 5 years of operations).
GOES-15 (GOES-P) was launched March 8, 2010. During the summer of 2010, GOES-15 underwent post-launch testing, and then joined GOES-14 in on-orbit storage at 105 W. In December 2011, GOES-15 replaced GOES-11 as GOES-WEST. GOES-15 is the last one in the Boeing-built fourth generation of GOES.
GOES-I/M and GOES-N/P series
During NASA's construction and launch phases, the satellites have alphabetical designations: GOES-I, GOES-J, etc..
Once the satellites are safely launched and deployed, they get a serial number in orbit:
GOES-I and GOES-J were expected to have a 3 year on-orbit life. GOES-8 actually has operated over 8.5 years, but GOES-9 had to be shutdown after 3 years. GOES-K/L/M are expected to have at least a 5 year on-orbit life, because the later models are more robust after learning from the earlier models.
The heavy-launcher used on GOES-11/-12 delivered the satellites efficiently with about 10-years of station-keeping fuel, which is normally the life-limiting factor for GOES satellites.
The same heavy-launch strategy was used for Boeing's GOES-N/O/P satellites to maximize their on-orbit fuel.
Construction and launch dates for GOES have been arranged to assure two-satellite operations while minimizing storage costs by using "free" on-orbit storage.
GOES-12 was activated as GOES-EAST in the spring of 2003, before GOES-11, in order to use the unique Solar X-ray Imager (SXI) on GOES-12.
GOES long-term project plan, as of early-2016.
|Boeing (formerly Hughes) Contract
The nominal operational design life was 5-years for Loral's GOES-I/M satellites, 7-years for Boeing's GOES-N/P satellites, and 10-years for Lockheed-Martin's GOES-R/U satellites.
NOAA-NESDIS uses a slightly shorter operational lifetime in planning their flyout schedule for the next few decades.
GOES-K (GOES-10) was launched in April 1997, well before GOES-I/J's expected end-of-life, in order to get a spare satellite safely on-orbit.
That proved to be good planning, because GOES-K (GOES-10) had to immediately replace GOES-J (GOES-9) as GOES-WEST in August 1998, after only one month of on-orbit storage.
In 2003, NOAA positioned GOES-9 over the western Pacific, to help Japan when the aging GMS-5 satellite failed before Japan could launch a MTSAT replacement. Japan paid for a control center in Fairbanks, Alaska, in order for NOAA to be able to operate a GOES satellite located west of the dateline.
In 2006, NOAA positioned GOES-10 at 65W, for dedicated scanning of South America and tropical storms in hurricane alley. GOES-10 was out of inclination-keeping fuel, so the satellite no longer stayed over the equator. Consequently, imagery had to be reprocessed to make it look like it comes from a geostationary satellite.
In December 2009, NOAA retired and de-orbited GOES-10 from its South American mission, replacing it with GOES-12 in June 2010.
Since 1990, the launch-and-deploy failure rate has been about 15% (1 in 7) for comparable civilian geosynchronous communications satellites. During the same time, the failure rate for GOES has been 0 in 8, due to the mission assurance work provided by NASA.
The advantage to an "on-orbit spare" is that it can be made operational in less than one month. For example, GOES-K was called up after just one month as an "on-orbit spare". If GOES satellites were kept in on-earth storage subject to NOAA call-up, there would be about 9 months of preparation and testing between call-up and launch, followed by 3 months of post-launch deployment and testing before the satellite could become operational.
MY STATUS REPORTS:
On-line GOES images from the active satellites are widely available on the Web. Help yourself.
The GOES-N/O/P/(Q) series
are built by the
Boeing Satellite Systems (formerly Hughes Corp.)
On this series, the GOES-N/O/P Imagers will not have the 12-13 micron channel (a volcanic ash-sensitive channel which was converted to a cloud-sensing 12.9-13.8 micron channel on GOES-M). GOES-O/P will have improved 4 km resolution in the 13 micron channel.
With the Loral spacecraft lasting longer than expected, NOAA decided in 2002 to not exercise the option for GOES-Q, even though they have already purchased the corresponding Imager and Sounder from ITT.
The GOES-NOPQ contract was remarkable for being fixed-price, with delivery on-orbit, and with a warranty for one no-cost replacement satellite if something failed during launch and testing that is critical to the GOES mission.
NASA-HQ version, circa 1997.
NESDIS spreadsheet version, circa 2013.
The Applications Technology Satellites were communications satellites with imagers, flown by Hughes Corp. for NASA-GSFC.
The ATS-1 satellite was used in 1967 to make the first fulldisk animated movie of global weather from a time-series of black-and-white still photographs placed sequentially on a film stand.
The ATS-3 imager took line-by-line color TV pictures, one of which we digitized 30 years later using a faded color photograph from the Hughes Corp. archives.
In 1999, JT Young at the University of Wisconsin digitized some of the surviving ATS-3 color photos, making possible the first day-long color QuickTime movie of the Earth on 18 November 1967.
The GOES-1/7 series were all built by the Hughes Corp. (now Boeing).
They were spin-stabilized, with a telescope looking out the side, sweeping out a few lines of imagery with every turn of the satellite.
- GOES-7 was still operable after 9 years in orbit. In 1992, GOES-7 ran out of N-S station-keeping fuel, as expected. Without fuel for orbital maneuvers to stay on the equator, a geosynchronous satellite increases its orbital inclination by about 1 degree per year due to tidal forces. The non-zero inclination makes raw animation of the earth bob and wobble. By the mid-2000's, old GOES satellites were used to take additional images of South America, with the images digitally resampled to make their movies appear as though they were taken from a stationary viewpoint.
Geostationary Satellite Status 06/30/95
GOES-7: Launched 02/26/87
Inclination: 2.27 degrees
Avg. Altitude: 22239 miles
Longitude Pos. 134.73
Drift (deg/day) .046W
Sensor Status: DCE #1 can on occasion cause loss of earth lock
HEPAD failed since launch.
Range transponder side 2 below specs.
ORBITAL ELEMENTS FOR GOES - 7 ,SATID 8702201.,IDSAT
EPOCH 97Y 5M 11D 0H 0M 0S UT
SEMI-MAJOR AXIS 42169.440 KILOMETERS
INCLINATION 3.69930 DEGREES
R. A. OF ASC. NODE 67.205 DEGREES
ARGUMENT OF PERIGEE 311.204 DEGREES
MEAN ANOMALY 113.923 DEGREES
LONGITUDE 96.5000 DEGREES
RT. ASC. 160.260 DEGREES
DECLINATION -87.540 DEGREES
SPIN: PERIOD/RATE 0.59981 SEC/ 100.0310 RPM
GOES-7 went to stand-by in January 1996, and parked at 95W in June 1996. This means the VAS instrument, and the associated Mode-AAA retransmitted instrument data format, along with WEFAX, Data Collection Service, and Search and Rescue services through GOES-7 were all turned-off.
In mid-November 1999, GOES-7 will be moved to 175W, to take over the communications-relay duties of PEACESAT. The high orbital inclination makes it possible to relay data from near the poles, particularly to support the NSF science group at the South Pole.
ORBITAL ELEMENTS FOR GOES - 6 ,SATID 8304101.,IDSAT
EPOCH 94Y 9M 18D 3H 56M 40S UT
SEMI-MAJOR AXIS 42174.291 KILOMETERS
INCLINATION 5.77540 DEGREES
R. A. OF ASC. NODE 59.959 DEGREES
ARGUMENT OF PERIGEE 30.276 DEGREES
MEAN ANOMALY 197.133 DEGREES
LONGITUDE 128.8000 DEGREES
RT. ASC. 138.474 DEGREES
DECLINATION -89.791 DEGREES
SPIN: PERIOD/RATE 0.58317 SEC/ 102.8860 RPM
- GOES-3 drifted to 105W, after GOES-2 assumed PEACESAT functions, in the most fuel conserving mode possible to be within both Malabar FL and South Pole station field of view by Nov. 1995. This means GOES-3 needs to be as far east as 130W to avoid communications conflict with GOES-WEST.
In mid-November 1995, GOES-3 was configured as a communications transmitter to relay GOES-9 data to Hawaiian, Alaskan, and the western CONUS sites before and during the move of GOES-9 from 90 West to 135 West.
Geostationary Satellite Status 06/30/95
GOES-3: Launched 06/16/78
Inclination: 10.76 degrees
Avg. Altitude: 22231 miles
Longitude Pos. 170.14
Drift (deg/day) .120E
Sensor Status: Reduntant encoder failed 09/14/79
- GOES-2 was launched 06/16/77. The status as of
Inclination: 11.79 degrees
Avg. Altitude: 22240 miles
Longitude Pos. 176.22
Drift (Deg/Day) .054W
Sensor Status: VISSR unusable 01/16/79
Magnetometer intermittent 04/24/83
Operation: PEACESAT Transponder
ORBITAL ELEMENTS FOR GOES - 2 ,SATID 7704801.,IDSAT
EPOCH 95Y 9M 14D 18H 31M 2S UT
SEMI-MAJOR AXIS 42171.651 KILOMETERS
INCLINATION 11.95280 DEGREES
R. A. OF ASC. NODE 40.294 DEGREES
ARGUMENT OF PERIGEE 118.896 DEGREES
MEAN ANOMALY 298.101 DEGREES
LONGITUDE 173.7790 DEGREES
RT. ASC. 131.829 DEGREES
DECLINATION -75.456 DEGREES
SPIN: PERIOD/RATE 0.60133 SEC/ 99.7790 RPM
NASA standard dissemination statement
This information is in the public domain, and permission is granted to use, duplicate, modify and redistribute it.
Please give credit for the satellite images to NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center.
NASA and its employees provide absolutely NO WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.
NASA Official: Dennis.Chesters@nasa.gov