] NOAA officials have announced plans to power off the GOES-15 satellite and place it into orbital storage by January 31, 2020.
Since late 2018, GOES-15 has operated in tandem with its advanced, newly launched replacement, GOES-17, as a precaution, while engineers worked on technical issues with the loop heat pipe of the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI), the primary instrument on the satellite. A blockage in the pipe prevented the ABI from cooling properly and hindered its ability to collect data during certain periods and hours of the year.
[GOES-R satellite showing instruments with Earth in the background. Credits: NASA
Engineers mitigated the issue through operational changes to the ABI and mission operations, including the use of Artificial Intelligence techniques, to regain capability to collect data during a portion of the affected period. Those efforts have resulted in the GOES-17 ABI delivering more than 97 percent of expected data.
NOAA officials also announced GOES-14, which had been providing supplemental space weather instrument operations, will be powered off and placed in storage by January 31, 2020. GOES-16, perched in the GOES-East orbit, is sending more advanced space weather data to NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center. Additionally, GOES-17 is providing products in a developmental system for space weather.
[Map showing the geographical coverage of the GOES East and West satellites. (NOAA)
Having GOES-15 in storage allows GOES-17 to operate with sole coverage of the GOES-West domain, able to see the weather, including storms, fog and wildfires, at high-resolution in the western U.S., Alaska and Hawaii and much of the Pacific Ocean.
GOES-15 and GOES-14 can be called back into service if either GOES-17 or GOES-16 experience issues. For more information about NOAA's advanced geostationary satellites, visit: www.goes-r.gov