GOES-2 Launch Anniversary; GOES Timelines

June 16th, 2022 |

With the help of NASA, private industry and others, NOAA’s GOES-2 (as GOES-B) was launched on June 16, 1977. Similar to SMS-1/2 and GOES-1/3, there were 2 spectral bands: one visible and one longwave infrared.

GOES-2 Visible (left) and Infrared (right) spectral bands from June 16, 1978 over the Eastern portion of the U.S.

A still image with a map overlay is also available to provide geo-referencing for the images in the above animation. Or a similar loop is also available with the map overlay The images in the loop (mp4 | animated gif) were taken just one year after GOES-B was launched.

A timeline of the GOES, from GOES-1 to GOES-U. Figure credit: GOES-R Program Office. (Click to show larger image.)
A timeline of the U.S. geo imaging, from ATS/SMS to GOES-U. Figure credit: GOES-R Program Office. (Click to show larger image.)

The timelines show the periods when the satellites were operational. Yet, there were other times when they might have been operating. For example, when an on-orbit spacecraft comes out of storage once a year, often in August, for a routine check-out of several weeks. Another example was GOES-14, as it provided over 5 months of 1 min data (SRSOR) data to better prepare for the meso-scale sectors on the ABI. These campaigns were in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Some of these times were:

Start DateEnd Date
16-Aug-201231-Oct-2012
13-Aug-201328-Aug-2013
08-May-201425-May-2014
14-Aug-201428-Aug-2014
18-May-201511-Jun-2015
10-Aug-201528-Aug-2015
01-Feb-201625-Feb-2016
18-Apr-201615-May-2016
09-Aug-201629-Aug-2016
01-Aug-201711-Aug-2017
08-Aug-201817-Aug-2018
31-Jul-201913-Aug-2019
11-Aug-202021-Aug-2020
11-Aug-202119-Aug-2021
GOES-14 times (as start/end pairs) of being operated, though not operational. All dates are approximate.

In addition, GOES-15 was operated several times to supplement GOES-17 operations:

Start DateEnd Date
20-May-201809-March-2020
04-Aug-202004-Sep-2020
04-Feb-202119-Feb-2021
02-Aug-202105-Nov-2021
17-Feb-202218-April-2022
GOES-15 times (as start/end pairs) of being operated, though not operational. All dates are approximate.

The second timeline above includes not only the U.S. GOES imagers, but also their precursors: ATS-1, 3 (including the Spin Scan Cloud Cameras) and 6 (with the 2-channel GVHRR; including an infrared band) and SMS-1/2. The GOES-R Program Office also has a more simple GOES timeline.

UW/SSEC has an interactive timeline (opens in new tab) that covers more satellites. The SSEC library (Schwerdtfeger) also has more information on the Spin-Scan Cloud Cameras on ATS-1/3.

Snapshot of the UW/SSEC timeline, the orange line relates to the geostationary orbit. (Click to better show image.)
A GOES-2 Full Disk image from June 16, 1978. The visible band is shown, along with cold IR values. (Click to show larger image.)

The above image shows a color-coded transparency for cold clouds over the gray-scale visible image.

After GOES-U, NOAA is planning on the next generation U.S. geostationary imager as part of the Geostationary Extended Observations (GeoXO) program.

H/T

Thanks to the many who made the GOES (and the precursors) possible. McIDAS-X software was used in generating these satellite images. The data (and many dates) was accessed by the UW/SSEC Data Services. More about GOES-16 and GOES-17 and GOES-18 (preliminary, non-operational).