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. It was designed to replace
GOES-4 and provide continuous vertical profiles of atmospheric temperature
The spacecraft was a cylinder 85
inches in diameter, 138 inches high and weighed 874 pounds. The sides of
the cylinder were covered by 15,000 solar cells which, along with nicad
batteries, provided the power for the craft. Contained within, but
protruding from the base was the primary instrument - the VAS (Visible
Infrared Spin Scan Radiometer (VISSR) Atmospheric Sounder) and its sunshade.
This instrument provided both day and night imagery of cloud conditions as
well as temperature and moisture profiles over the full-disk.
Unfortunately, the dwell times of sounder versus imager do not permit these
two operations to occur simultaneously; however, soundings are still
available on an hourly basis.
The satellite also used new despun
S-band and UHF antennas to improve the relay of meteorological data from
over 10,000 surface locations into a central processing center for
incorporation into numerical weather prediction models, and to perform
fax 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 previous GOES were
GOES-6 was placed in a geostationary orbit
directly over the equator over the Pacific (136W) and was referred to as
GOES-WEST. The VAS imager failed on January 21, 1989, so direct readout
images and soundings are no longer available. It is, however, still acting
as the west WEFAX relay satellite, although it's orbit is unstable.
Participants: NASA, NOAA, Hughes Aircraft,
April 28, 1983
Out of service due to equipment failure in 1989. Orbit is unstable.
Cape Canaveral, FL
1968 - 1977
1978 - 1987
1988 - 1997