GOES-17 officially becomes operational as GOES-West (Photo Credit; NASA/www.goes-r.gov)
DISCUSSION: On Tuesday, February 12, 2019, the GOES-17 (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) has been declared functional as GOES-West. GOES-17 has taken over the position of GOES-West at 137.2° W for GOES-15 which has shifted to 128° W. GOES-West handles the duties of taking visible and infrared imagery for the Western Hemisphere and the Continental United States. The first system captured by the GOES-17 as the new GOES-West was the atmospheric river event that was forecasted to hit the San Francisco Bay Area on the night of February 12.
GOES-17, however, had some problems after being launched from Cape Canaveral on March 1, 2018. The main source of the issues that arose deal with the cooling and heating systems of the satellite. The cooling and heating of the satellite is vital as the infrared sensors detect radiation mostly in the form of heat from the Earth. The problem with a very warm satellite would make it harder for the infrared sensors to make significant distinctions between temperatures such as between a very cold ground with clear skies and a cloud top.
The next satellite in the GOES series to be launched will be GOES-T. GOES-T is scheduled to be launched sometime in June 2020. The GOES-T is scheduled to be used as a storage in orbit just in case one of the other GOES satellites have to go offline or if there is a major malfunction. The GOES-R series, which includes the GOES-17 and GOES-T, is different than the previous GOES satellites as they have more advanced technology including for solar imaging than the GOES-13 series which is the GOES-13, GOES-14, and GOES-15.
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©2019 Meteorologist JP Kalb
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