After 10 years of service, NOAA retires GOES-12 satellite

August 20, 2013
GOES-12 captured this visible image of Hurricane Katrina on August 28, 2005, at 11:45 a.m. (EDT). At that time, the storm was at Category 5 strength and projected to impact New Orleans. Credit: NOAA

GOES-12 has seen it all, from Hurricane Katrina that hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, to the Christmas blizzard that crippled the Central United States in 2009. It even traveled south of the equator to provide coverage for South America starting in 2010. Now, after more than 10 years of stellar service, NOAA's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-12 spacecraft is being retired.

Launched on July 23, 2001, the satellite lasted well beyond its original operational design life of two years for on-orbit storage and five years of actual operations to support forecasters and scientists in NOAA's National Weather Service.

"GOES-12 gave the Western Hemisphere many years of reliable data as the operational eastern GOES for accurate forecasts, from small storms to those of historic proportions," said Mary Kicza, assistant administrator for NOAA's Satellite and Information Service.

Built by Space Systems/Loral, GOES-12 became operational April 1, 2003 as the GOES-East satellite, monitoring weather across the U.S. East Coast and part of the Atlantic Ocean. On May 10, 2010, when GOES-12 was no longer able to be maintained to meet the requirements of the National Weather Service, it was shifted to a new position, where it provided coverage of weather conditions affecting South America, including , wildfires, and drought.

When NOAA decommissions a like GOES-12, it is boosted further into orbit, the remaining fuel is expended, the battery is disabled and the transmitters are turned off. These maneuvers reduce the chances the satellite will collide with other operational spacecraft. Additionally, decommissioning lowers the risk of and stops the satellite from transmitting any signals that could interfere with any current or .

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
10 Years of Weather History in 3 Minutes.

NOAA continues to operate GOES-13, which serves as the GOES East satellite for the United States and GOES-15, which is the GOES West satellite - both hovering 22,300 miles above the equator. NOAA also has an orbital backup geostationary satellite, GOES-14, which can be activated if any of the operational satellites experience trouble.

Kicza added: "The NOAA-NASA partnership is making steady progress toward developing and launching the more advanced GOES-R satellite series to position us into the future."

GOES-R is expected to more than double the clarity of today's GOES imagery and provide more atmospheric observations than current capabilities with more frequent images.

On January 29, 2010, GOES-12 captured a powerful storm developing in the U.S. mid-west. In the coming days, two blizzards hit the East Coast resulting in historic snowfall totals. Credit: NOAA

Data from the GOES-R instruments will be used to create many different products that will help NOAA meteorologists and other users monitor the atmosphere, land, ocean and the sun. GOES-R will also carry a new Geostationary Lightning Mapper that will provide for the first time a continuous surveillance of total lightning activity throughout the Americas and adjacent oceans.

In addition to GOES, NOAA also operates the polar operational environmental satellite (POES) program satellites, the Defense Meteorological Satellites Program series satellites and the Suomi NPP spacecraft.

Explore further: NOAA's GOES-13 weather satellite currently has an acting back-up

Related Stories

GOES-R satellite program undergoes successful review

November 27, 2012

The GOES-R Series Program, which is leading the effort to replace and upgrade NOAA's existing fleet of geostationary satellites that track severe weather across the United States, received a favorable appraisal conducted ...

GOES-R EXIS instrument ready for integration

May 2, 2013

The first of six instruments that will fly on GOES-R, NOAA's next-generation of geostationary operational environmental satellites, has been completed on schedule, seven months before its scheduled installation onto the spacecraft.

GOES-R satellite magnetometer boom deployment successful

July 29, 2013

The GOES-R Magnetometer Engineering Development Unit made an important development in the construction of the spacecraft recently after completing a successful boom deployment test at an ATK facility in Goleta, Calif.

Recommended for you

Ceres image: The lonely mountain

August 25, 2015

NASA's Dawn spacecraft spotted this tall, conical mountain on Ceres from a distance of 915 miles (1,470 kilometers).

New Horizons team selects potential Kuiper Belt flyby target

August 29, 2015

NASA has selected the potential next destination for the New Horizons mission to visit after its historic July 14 flyby of the Pluto system. The destination is a small Kuiper Belt object (KBO) known as 2014 MU69 that orbits ...

Dawn spacecraft sends sharper scenes from Ceres

August 25, 2015

The closest-yet views of Ceres, delivered by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, show the small world's features in unprecedented detail, including Ceres' tall, conical mountain; crater formation features and narrow, braided fractures.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.