The year 2018 was the busiest one for launches in decades. There were a total of 111 completely successful launches out of 114 attempts. It was the highest total since 1990, when 124 launches were conducted.
China set a new record for launches in 2018. The nation launched 39 times with 38 successes in a year that saw a private Chinese company fail in the country’s first ever orbital launch attempt.
NOAA’s poor management of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites-R (GOES-R) program has resulted in less accurate meteorological data from the GOES-16 and GOES-17 weather satellites now in orbit, according to an audit by the Commerce Department’s Office of Inspector General (IG). [Full Report]
NOAA’s failure to properly address an overheating problem discovered during ground testing in 2017 led to the degraded performance of GOES-17’s main instrument, the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI). The GOES-16 satellite, which was already in orbit at the time, is also suffering from overheating of its ABI to a lesser degree, the report found.
WASHINGTON, DC (NOAA PR) — A blockage in the loop heat pipe of the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI), the primary instrument on NOAA’s GOES-17 satellite, prevented the instrument from cooling properly and impeded its ability to collect data, according to a special Mishap Investigation Board.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — A Mishap Investigation Board appointed by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has identified the most likely cause for an instrument issue aboard NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-17 satellite that launched March 1, 2018 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
During post launch testing of the satellite’s Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI), teams discovered the instrument’s infrared detectors could not be maintained at the required temperatures during some orbital conditions, which resulted in a partial loss of three of the instruments 16 bands during certain times of the year.
The ABI is GOES-17’s primary instrument for imaging Earth’s weather,
oceans, and environment. It views the Earth with 16 spectral bands
including two visible, four near-infrared, and 10 infrared channels.
The mishap board was tasked with gathering and analyzing information, and identifying the proximate causes, root causes, and contributing factors related to the ABI performance issues.
It concluded the most likely cause of the ABI cooling issue is a blockage in the instrument’s loop heat pipes, which transfer heat from the ABI electronics to its radiator. The blockage restricted the flow of coolant in the loop heat pipes, causing the ABI to overheat and reducing the sensitivity of infrared sensors.
NOAA and NASA have adjusted the instrument operations, and are
working to improve the quality of the data in order to reduce the impact
of the cooling issue.
GOES-17, in the GOES-West position, is helping forecasters track
weather from torrential rain events to wildfires and other environmental
hazards throughout the U.S. western region, including California,
Alaska and Hawaii. Also, GOES-17 is monitoring typhoons in the eastern
Pacific Ocean, including Hawaii.
The Mishap Investigation Board Summary Report is available online at:
GOES-17 is one in a series of NOAA’s next generation geostationary weather
satellites which include GOES-16, 18 and 19. The advanced instrument
technology used on these satellites will result in more timely and
accurate forecasts and warnings. It will improve support for the
detection and observations of meteorological phenomena. The GOES-R
Series program is a collaborative development and acquisition effort
between NOAA and NASA to develop, launch and operate the geostationary
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have appointed a board to investigate an instrument anomaly aboard the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) 17 weather satellite currently in orbit.