GOES-13, known as GOES-N before becoming operational, is an American weather satellite which forms part of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite system. On April 14, 2010, GOES-13 became the operational weather satellite for GOES-EAST. It was replaced by GOES-16 on December 18, 2017 and on January 8, 2018 its instruments were shut off and it began its three-week drift to an on-orbit storage location at 60 degrees west longitude, arriving on January 31. It will remain there as a backup satellite in case one of the operational GOES satellites has a problem.
GOES-N during processing
|Mission type||Weather satellite|
|Operator||NOAA / NASA|
|Mission duration||10 years|
|Spacecraft type||GOES-N series|
|Launch mass||3,133 kilograms (6,907 lb)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||24 May 2006, 22:11:00UTC|
|Launch site||Cape Canaveral SLC-37B|
|Semi-major axis||42,163.0 kilometres (26,198.9 mi)|
|Perigee altitude||35,768.5 kilometres (22,225.5 mi)|
|Apogee altitude||35,817.3 kilometres (22,255.8 mi)|
The launch had been delayed significantly due to a number of issues. First, it had been scheduled to fly on a Delta III, but after three consecutive failures on its first three flights, the Delta III was cancelled, with GOES launches being transferred to the Delta IV. Further delays were caused after the previous Delta IV launch, the maiden flight of the Heavy configuration, suffered a partial failure. Then, two launch attempts in August 2005 were scrubbed, the second attempt just four minutes and twenty six seconds prior to liftoff.
At launch, the satellite had a mass of 3,133 kilograms (6,907 lb), and an expected operational lifespan of ten years, although it carries fuel for longer. It was built by Boeing, based on the BSS-601 satellite bus, and was the first of three GOES-N series satellites to be launched. It is currently in a geostationary orbit at a longitude of 60° West.
In December 2007, it was called up to provide coverage of the east coast of the United States during an outage of GOES-12 due to a thruster leak. After the problem with GOES-12 cleared, it resumed operations, and GOES-13 was deactivated again. It was also briefly activated in mid May 2009, when GOES-12 developed another thruster problem, however it did not need to take over operations, and was deactivated by the end of the month. In April 2010, GOES-13 replaced GOES-12 as GOES-East at 75° West. GOES-13 served actively as GOES-East from April 2010 to December 2017.
In December 2017, GOES-16 replaced GOES-13 as GOES-East. On December 14, 2017, GOES-13 direct GVAR was disabled. GOES-13 GVAR and LRIT were relayed through GOES-14 until January 8, 2018, at which time the GOES-13 GVAR relay through GOES-14 GVAR was disabled. GOES-13 ceased transmitting data on January 8 and began drifting to its storage location at 60 degrees west on January 9, arriving there on January 31. GOES-13 will remain at 60°W as a backup satellite, in case one of the operational GOES satellites malfunctions. US regulations stipulate that at retirement, geostationary satellites must be boosted into a graveyard orbit at least 300 km (190 mi) higher than the geostationary altitude of 35,786 km (22,236 mi).
On September 12, 2012, GOES-13 began to return images with an excessive amount of noise. The noise gradually increased to the point at which the satellite was placed in standby mode on September 24 in order to allow engineers to diagnose the problem. GOES-15 temporarily provided backup imagery for a short time, with GOES-14 being taken out of in-orbit storage and prepared to be a longer-term replacement including movement towards the 75 degree slot normally occupied by GOES East. GOES-13 returned to normal operations on October 18, 2012. GOES-14 was kept in normal operations and used to monitor Hurricane Sandy in parallel with GOES-13 before GOES-14 returned to standby status.
At 03:40 UTC on May 22, 2013 GOES-13 was apparently hit by a micrometeorite or orbital debris (MMOD) which caused it to lose track of the stars that it uses to maintain attitude. The satellite then went into safe mode and shut down all of its instruments. The hit was believed to occur on the solar array yoke. In the short term GOES-15 was reconfigured to cover the entire United States, but operators activated GOES-14 to take over GOES-East operations at 06:00 UTC on May 23. GOES-13 was scheduled to return to operational status at 15:45 UTC on June 6, 2013 However that was delayed due to a Critical Weather Day and Tropical Storm Andrea. It returned to full duty on June 10, 2013.
On 20 November 2015, at 0922 UTC, the GOES-13 Sounder experienced an anomaly. GOES Engineers determined that the Filter Wheel had stopped moving (the filter wheel aligns the infrared detectors with the incoming data) so data were not scanned. All 18 infrared channels were affected; the visible channel (band 19) continued sending usable data until the instruments were shut down in 2018.
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