GOES-12 is retired from service
The GOES-12 Sounder has sent its last data, ending more than 12 years of service. The GOES-12 Sounder was turned off at 1100 UTC on 13 August. GOES-12 was launched on July 23, 2001, and GOES-12 transmitted data from 16 August 2001 – 7 January 2002, and then more or less continuously from January 16, 2003 onward, a lengthy record of data collection for a geostationary satellite. GOES-12 initially served as GOES-East, replacing GOES-8. After April, 2010, when GOES-13 began service as GOES-East, GOES-12 was moved to 60 West longitude and supplied data over South America. The end of its fuel supply after a dozen years in orbit requires a decommissioning that is scheduled for Friday 16 August.
The last GOES Sounder images were centered over Bolivia, as shown above. Sounder data can be used to estimate Total Precipitable Water, or Cloud Top Pressure. A toggle between these last two products from GOES-12 is shown below.
The GOES-12 Imager was turned off at approximately 2330 UTC on 15 August 2013; De-orbit maneuvers are scheduled at 0100 and 1300 UTC on 16 August 2013.
The loss of data flowing from GOES-12 will have an impact on the GOES-13 scanning strategy. During routine GOES-13 scanning, there are six South American images every three hours. However, during past GOES-13 Rapid Scan Operations (RSO), only one South American Image was scanned every three hours — the Southern Hemisphere Short Sector (SHSS) that was south of the Equator, west of South America. (An example is here). In the scanning strategy now, a South American Image over the southern Amazon Basin (the South American ‘A’ Sector; here is a second example) will be produced near the top of the hour, and a South American Image over the southern part of the Continent (the South American ‘B’ Sector; here is a second example) will be produced near the bottom of the hour. An RSO call late on 13 August yielded the following two images in an hour.
The Imager was shut off around 2340 UTC on August 15 2013. The loop above shows the final two days of the Full Disk imagery. The final set of Imager imagery — all five channels — is below.
GOES-12 produced many excellent loops. Perhaps the most famous, a visible imagery loop of Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico, is available here (Or here as a Quicktime movie).