GOES-17 Is Now Fully Operational, But Root Cause Has Not Been Determined Yet

GOES-17, also known as GOES-S, is the second of the current generation of weather satellites operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The four satellites of the series (GOES-16, -17, -T, and -U) will extend the availability of the GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite system) until 2036 for weather forecast and meteorology research. The satellite was built by Lockheed Martin, was based on the A2100A platform, and will have an expected useful life of 15 years.

NOAA’s GOES-R series of satellites is designed to improve the forecasts of weather, ocean, and environment by providing faster and more detailed data, real-time images of lightning, and advanced monitoring of solar activities and space weather. GOES-17 can collect three times more data at four times image resolution, and scan the planet five times faster than previous probes.

In MAY 2018 The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that the cooling system of the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) on the GOES-17 weather satellite did not start up as planned during on-orbit checkout. The problem here is cooling system. The cooling system is needed to keep ABI’s detectors at an operating temperature of 60 Kelvin. That system is not working sufficiently for 13 of the instrument’s 16 bands, at infrared and near-infrared wavelengths, during part of each orbit. Three other bands, which operate at visible wavelengths, are not affected by the cooling issue. Other instruments on the spacecraft are also not impaired.

On July 24, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Engineers have made some progress in restoring the performance of the key instrument on a weather satellite. But they have yet to fully correct the problem or determine its root cause.

NOAA officials said they had been able to improve the availability of infrared and near-infrared channels on the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) instrument on the GOES-17 satellite since the agency first reported the problem

As one team works to improve the performance of the ABI on GOES-17, another team is tracking down the root cause of the instrument. Sullivan, director of the GOES-R system program, said the issue appears to be with loop heat pipes that contain propylene coolant.

NOAA still expects to put GOES-17 into service later this year as GOES-West at 137 degrees west, replacing GOES-15 at that orbital slot. “Even during this checkout phase, GOES-17 is observing with more channels and a higher resolution with more rapid refresh than what we currently have with the current GOES-West satellite,” Sullivan said. “While we’re not going to get the full GOES-17 functionality, we are going to receive more and better data than we currently have.”

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