GOES-13 Reactivated for Troubleshooting, but GOES-14 Still on Duty
NOAA announced today that it has reactivated GOES-13, but only to allow engineers to troubleshoot what happened to the spacecraft on May 22. GOES-14, an on-orbit spare, will continue to fill in for GOES-13 in an operational capacity.
Three Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) are in geostationary orbit, a particularly good vantage point for studying the development of tropical storms. Two are maintained in an operational mode -- designated GOES-East and GOES-West for the geographical areas of the United States and nearby waters they observe -- while the third is a spare, ready to be moved into position if either fails. GOES-13 is in the GOES-East position (75 degrees West longitude), GOES-15 in the GOES-West position (135 degrees W), and GOES-14 is the spare, positioned in between them at 105 degrees W.
On May 22, GOES-13 stopped producing imaging and sounding data. NOAA put the satellite into storage mode and activated GOES-14. The decision to reactivate GOES-13 now is to allow engineers to analyze spacecraft and instrument data to determine the source of a change in motion that caused the instruments to automatically shut down. If the spacecraft cannot be recovered, NOAA will move GOES-14 into the 75 degrees W orbital slot to ensure coverage of severe weather that could impact the East Coast.
This is the second GOES-13 service interruption. GOES-14 took over temporarily for GOES-13 last September as well, but engineers were able to get GOES-13 working again after several weeks.
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