Twelve days after a flawless launch, NASA and NOAA's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-P (GOES-P) reached its proper orbit and was renamed GOES-15. The latest weather satellite will complete its checkout in mid August 2010 and be stored in-orbit, ready for activation should one of the operational GOES satellites degrade or exhaust their fuel.
"The NASA team has done an excellent job and the spacecraft performance has been near perfect. Reaching the proper orbit marks a significant milestone, but we still have a lot of work to complete," stated Andre Dress, the NASA GOES Deputy Project Manager. "We remain focused on the tasks at hand and look forward to complete mission success."
Since GOES-P launched on-board a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket on March 4, the satellite has undergone 5 orbit raising maneuvers before arriving at its checkout longitude of 90° West, where it orbits at approximately 22 thousand miles above the Earth's surface.
NASA Engineers and controllers deployed the Solar Array on March 17 and they will turn on the Imager and Sounder on March 23. The Imager is expected to capture the first visible image on April 5.
GOES-15 is the third and final spacecraft to be launched in the GOES N-P Series of geostationary environmental weather satellites. With two operational satellites, they provide weather observations that cover over 50 percent of the Earth's surface.
Boeing Satellite and Intelligence Systems operations will transition the routine health and safety monitoring to the NASA Goddard operations team on March 24. At this time the NASA and NOAA team will commence with the post launch verification testing, which will last for approximately 150 days. Once all the systems are checked out, the satellite will be turned over to NOAA for operational control.
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