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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.[1] It was replaced by GOES-16 on December 18, 2017[2] 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.[3]

GOES-N spacecraft is lowered onto the payload adapter.jpg
GOES-N during processing
Mission typeWeather satellite
OperatorNOAA / NASA
COSPAR ID2006-018A
SATCAT no.29155
Mission duration10 years
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeGOES-N series
Launch mass3,133 kilograms (6,907 lb)
Power2300 watts
Start of mission
Launch date24 May 2006, 22:11:00 (2006-05-24UTC22:11Z) UTC
RocketDelta IV-M+(4,2)
Launch siteCape Canaveral SLC-37B
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
Longitude60° West
Semi-major axis42,163.0 kilometres (26,198.9 mi)
Perigee altitude35,768.5 kilometres (22,225.5 mi)
Apogee altitude35,817.3 kilometres (22,255.8 mi)
Period1,436.1 minutes



Launch of GOES-13

GOES-N was launched aboard a Boeing Delta IV-M+(4,2) rocket, flying from Space Launch Complex 37B at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch occurred at 22:11:00 GMT on 24 May 2006.[4]

The launch had been delayed significantly due to a number of issues. First, it had been scheduled to fly on a Delta III,[5] 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.[6] Then, two launch attempts in August 2005 were scrubbed, the second attempt just four minutes and twenty six seconds prior to liftoff.[7]

After these launch attempts, the rocket's flight termination system batteries expired, requiring replacement.[8] A strike by workers at Boeing subsequently pushed the launch back to May 2006.[9]


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.[10] It was built by Boeing, based on the BSS-601 satellite bus,[11] 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.[12][13][14]


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.[15] GOES-13 served actively as GOES-East from April 2010 to December 2017.

In December 2017, GOES-16 replaced GOES-13 as GOES-East.[2] 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.[16] GOES-13 will remain at 60°W as a backup satellite, in case one of the operational GOES satellites malfunctions.[3] 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).[17]


In December 2006 GOES-13 observed a solar flare so intense it damaged its Solar X-ray Imager (SXI).[18]

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.[19] GOES-13 returned to normal operations on October 18, 2012.[20][21] GOES-14 was kept in normal operations and used to monitor Hurricane Sandy in parallel with GOES-13[22] 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.[23] GOES-13 was scheduled to return to operational status at 15:45 UTC on June 6, 2013[24] However that was delayed due to a Critical Weather Day and Tropical Storm Andrea.[25] It returned to full duty on June 10, 2013.[26]

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.[27]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "GOES-NEWS". NASA. 2009-05-09. Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  2. ^ a b Clark, Stephen (20 December 2017). "NOAA's GOES-16 weather satellite declared operational". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Farewell to GOES-13: The History of NOAA's Former GOES East Satellite | NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS)". Archived from the original on 2018-07-17. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  4. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  5. ^ "GOES-NO/P/Q — The Next Generation" (PDF). NASA. 2001. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-20. Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  6. ^ Kelly, John (2006-05-22). "For Boeing, Next Delta 4 Rocket Launch Carries More Than a Satellite". Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  7. ^ Bergin, Chris (2005-08-16). "Delta 4 launch scrubbed - again". Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  8. ^ "Mission Status Center". Delta Launch Report - GOES-N. Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  9. ^ "Boeing's Launch Schedule Hit by Impending Union Strike". 2005-10-27. Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  10. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "GOES N, O, P, Q". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  11. ^ Wade, Mark. "HS 601". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 2009-08-02. Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  12. ^ "GOES-13 Spacecraft Status Summary". NOAA. Archived from the original on 2011-01-13. Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  13. ^ "GOES-N Status". NOAA. Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  14. ^ "NOAA continues weather satellite discussions with the Air Force". Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  15. ^ "GOES-M Status". NOAA. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  16. ^ "GOES-16 DRIFT AND TRANSITION TO OPERATIONS". Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  17. ^ "Graveyard Orbits and the Satellite Afterlife | NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS)". NESDIS News & Articles. 2016-10-31. Archived from the original on 2019-05-25. Retrieved 2019-05-26.
  18. ^ "A Super Solar Flare - NASA Science".
  19. ^ "Using polar-orbiting satellite data to help fill in gaps during a GOES-13 outage". University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  20. ^ Back from the dead: GOES-13 satellite returns to active duty, Washington Post.
  21. ^ "GOES-13 spacecraft status". NOAA Office of Satellite Operations. Archived from the original on 2011-01-13.
  22. ^ "Hurricane Sandy Life Cycle from GOES-13 and GOES-14". University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  23. ^
  24. ^ Update#21
  25. ^
  26. ^ Watts, Anthony (17 June 2013). "NOAA GOES-13 satellite becomes first ever to recover from a micrometeoroid impact". Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  27. ^ Lindstrom, Scott. "GOES-13 Sounder Anomalies". Retrieved 27 December 2017.