One of the latest weather satellites orbiting around Earth has been reported to be dealing with some issues only months after being launched into orbit on March 1st of this year. The satellite, named GOES-17, is part of a series called Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites. This series of satellites provides “advanced imagery and atmospheric measurements of Earth’s Western Hemisphere, real-time mapping of lightning activity, and improved monitoring of solar activity and space weather,” according to NOAA Satellites.

The first satellite of this series, GOES-16, was launched back on November of last year and has been operational for over half a year now. This satellite replaced GOES-East, which was an older, low-resolution satellite which used to be one of the main providers of imagery over the Western Hemisphere. Now earlier this year, GOES-16 gained some company with its twin, GOES-17, which has been undergoing testing before it becomes operational.

It’s not until this Wednesday when scientists discovered an issue. NOAA Satellites released a statement, saying “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. The cooling system is an integral part of the ABI and did not start up properly during the on-orbit checkout.” Satellite provides different channels of imagery, such as infrared, near-infrared, and ABI. Due to this issue, the infrared and near-infrared are being impacted. A team of experts are now pursuing several courses of potential corrective actions.

There are three weather satellites that can provide imagery for the area that GOES-17 covers, including GOES-16, GOES-15 (which is currently GOES-West), and GOES-14 (which is the spare satellite of a previous version). There is no timeline of when this issue will be fixed — if it even hopefully can. Updates will be provided when new information comes out.


Jackson is Head of Content and Social Media at WeatherOptics. He is currently a student at the University of Miami, studying Meteorology and Broadcast Journalism. Dill produces forecast articles for the website and helps to manage the content schedule. He has also led the growth of WeatherOptics’ social media accounts, working to keep them aligned with the company’s evolving vision.

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