Key Instrument on NOAA’s Advanced New GOES-17 Weather Observatory Suffers Serious Anomaly


The NOAA/NASA Geostationary Operational Environmental
Satellite-S (GOES-S), or GOES-17, is being processed in the c
lean room at Astrotech
Space Operations, in Titusville, FL, prior to launch on a ULA Atlas V on Mar. 1,
2018.  GOES-S belongs to new
constellation of America’s most advanced weather satellites.
Credit: Ken
Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com
Ken Kremer     SpaceUpClose.com     28 May 2018

KENNEDY SPACE
CENTER, FL – 
The
key weather observing instrument on board the nations newest advanced weather
observatory, GOES-17, has suffered a serious anomaly with the cooling system essential
for enabling measurements with most of the spectral bands, say NOAA managers.

The cooling system of the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) instrument on
GOES-17 failed to start up properly during the normal on-orbit check out and commissioning
phase, said top managers of
The
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, at a May 23 media
briefing.  NOAA runs the nations fleet of
weather observing satellites.

ABI is the premier
instrument on GOES-17 making 95% of the measurements. 

GOES-S weather observation satellite
instrument suite graphic. Credit: NASA/NOAA
The cooling system is
needed to cool ABI to approximately
60 Kelvin (or minus
351 degrees Fahrenheit)

GOES-17 is
the second satellite in a new constellation of weather observatories – known as
the GOES-R program – that are intended to provide a revolutionary upgrade to
the nations weather satellite fleet and weather forecasting abilities.   
GOES satellites are jointly developed by NOAA and NASA.


GOES-17, also known as GOES-S, was successfully launched to
geostationary orbit barely
three months ago.

“The
GOES-R Program is currently addressing a performance issue with the cooling
system encountered during commissioning of the GOES-17 Advanced
Baseline Imager (ABI) instrument,” said NOAA. 

“The
cooling system is an integral part of the ABI and did not start up properly
during the on-orbit checkout.”

The Geostationary Operational Environmental
Satellite-S (GOES-S) lifted off on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V
rocket from seaside Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
in Florida
on March 1,
2018
.

A United Launch Alliance
Atlas V rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air
Force Station carrying the NOAA Geostationary Operational Environmental
Satellite, or GOES-S at 5:02 p.m. EST on March 1, 2018.  GOES-S is the second satellite in a series of
next-generation weather satellites.
Credit: Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com

A
six-month checkout of its suite of six
state-of-the-art
science observing
instruments and spacecraft systems
commenced on March 26 along with
maneuvering
the satellite to its checkout position at 89.5
degrees West longitude.

The
failure with the cooling system impacts observations from 13 of the 16 spectral
bands in the infrared and near infrared wavelengths. Only the 3 visible band
channels appear to be unaffected at this time. 

GOES-S artists concept. Credit:
NOAA/NASA

“The issue affects 13 of the infrared and
near-infrared channels on the instrument,” said NOAA.

“At this time, we do not believe that the
three channels with the shortest wavelengths, which includes the visible
channels, are significantly affected.” 

“This is a serious problem,” said Steve Volz head of NOAA’s Satellite and Information
Service
in a media call with reporters.

“This is the premier Earth-pointing instrument
on the GOES platform, and 16 channels, of which 13 are infrared or
near-infrared, are important elements of our observing requirements, and if
they are not functioning fully, it is a loss. It is a performance issue we have
to address.”

The ABI instrument was built by Harris Corporation.

An identical ABI instrument on the GOES-16 satellite
launched in 2016 is functioning  normally.
  GOES-16 is the first in the four
satellite series of advanced GOES observatories.

The next satellite named GOES-T is scheduled to launch in
2020

Volz said that a joint team comprising NASA, NOAA, Harris
and prime contractor Lockheed Martin has been formed to investigate the anomaly
p
ursue multiple courses
of possible corrective actions.

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX,
ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK and more
space and mission
reports direct from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,
Florida and Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing
Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com –
twitter @ken_kremer – email:
ken at kenkremer.com

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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