After a successful service of 10 years, NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-12 spacecraft is being retired. Since GOES-12 became operational in 2003, it has supported forecasters and scientists in NOAA's National Weather Service until 2010, when the satellite was shifted to a new position from which it provided coverage of weather conditions affecting South America that included volcanic ash clouds, wildfires, and drought.
Though GOES-12 satellite was launched on 23 July 2001 with an operational design life of two years for on-orbit storage and five years of actual operations supporting forecasters and scientists, it lasted well beyond these expectations. For more than 10 years of stellar service, GOES-12 has witnessed from Hurricane Katrina that hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, to the Christmas blizzard that crippled the Central United States in 2009.
“GOES-12 gave the Western Hemisphere many years of reliable data as the operational eastern GOES for accurate forecasts, from small storms to those of historic proportions,” said Mary Kicza, assistant administrator for NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service.