Monday, September 13, 2010

More GOES-15 Photos on the Horizon

Last week NASA and NOAA reported that the third and final spacecraft in the GOES N-P Series of geostationary environmental weather satellites known as GOES-15, has successfully completed five months of testing and has been accepted into service.

The GOES fleet help NOAA forecasters track life-threatening weather and it is one of the most useful satellites, providing a constant stream of data and imagery as it observes clouds, ocean temperatures, winds, atmospheric properties, severe storm systems, fires and many other environmental parameters covering more than 50 percent of the Earth's surface.

GOES-15 has already started to deliver high-resolution photos from space (see image above of Hurricane Danielle), including the first visible and infrared images of Earth taken by its imager instrument, and the first image of the sun taken by its solar X-ray imager instrument.

GOES-15 will be placed in an on-orbit storage location at 105 degrees west longitude should one of the operational GOES satellites degrade or exhaust their fuel. It will share a parking space with GOES-14, currently in the same storage orbit. Both satellites can be made operational within 24 hours to replace an older satellite.

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