GOES mast


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).

Description: 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 minute.

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

Launch Date
June 16, 1978

Operational Period
1978 -1993. Re-activated in 1995 to transmit educational programming throughout the Hawaiian Islands from the University of Hawaii.

Launch Vehicle
Delta 2914

Launch Site
Cape Canaveral, FL

Weather Satellite

GOES missions

1968 - 1977 1978 - 1987 1988 - 1997

Earth Science Enterprise


Responsible NASA Official: Sharron Sample
Curator: SAIC Information Services
Date: 4/22/99