GOES-12 outage…GOES-13 to the rescue!

December 15th, 2008 |
AWIPS 4-panel of GOES imagery

AWIPS 4-panel GOES imagery (IR, visible, water vapor channels)

The GOES-12 satellite (the operational GOES-East satellite) suffered a Thruster 2B oxidizer leak around 22:00 UTC on 14 December 2008, which caused the suspension of GOES-12 Imager and Sounder data. For several hours following the GOES-12 thruster anomaly, GOES-11 (the operational GOES-West satellite) was placed into Full-Disk mode to provide coverage as far east as possible. AWIPS 4-panel GOES images (above) show that the image quality was adversely impacted over the far eastern US and Canada during that time, due to the very large viewing angle from GOES-11 (which is positioned at 135º W longitude). Also, note that the water vapor channel imagery (lower right panel) was not available in AWIPS during the time that GOES-11 IR imagery (upper 2 panels) was filling in for the missing GOES-12 data — and of course, there was no visible channel data (lower left panel) since it was night-time.

However, the GOES-13 satellite — which had been in an extended period of on-orbit storage at 105º W longitude — had been activated in early August of 2008, so it could very quickly be utilized to replace GOES-12. As of 12:30 UTC on 15 December, GOES-13 data began to replace GOES-12 data as the GOES-East satellite data source for AWIPS, which then allowed  the image quality over the far eastern US and Canada to return to normal. The channels on the GOES-13 Imager and Sounder are identical to those on GOES-12 (including the 4-km resolution water vapor channel) — however, the primary improvements with GOES-13 are better image navigation, and larger on-board batteries to allow the satellite to operation through Spring and Fall eclipse periods (when the satellite is in the Earth’s shadow, and the solar panels cannot provide power to the spacecraft instruments).

For the latest information, see the NOAA Satellite Services Division Special Bulletins.

Note: GOES-13 data is being re-broadcast through GOES-12, so users with GOES East direct broadcast ground stations do not need to adjust their antennas.

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