In a statement which was released by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that the GOES-17 weather satellite which was launched about two months ago had developed a cooling problem which has put the majority of the satellite’s value in the stake.
Goes-17 is said to be the new generation of a weather satellite to join NOAA’s orbital fleet. The predecessor of the satellite covers the US East Coast, and GOES-17 is meant for “GOES-West.” The satellites were set to deliver the high-resolution images of the atmospheric conditions. This also tracks fires, solar behaviour or lightning strike. It is very important that NOAA stays ahead of the dying satellites by launching the new satellites which make sure that there is no gap in global coverage.
As per the NOAA, the cooling system of the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) on the GOES-17 weather satellite has not startup as it is planned and this occurs when on-orbit checkout was done in last few weeks ago. The satellite was launched on an Atlas 5 on March 1st.
The main objective of the cooling system is to keep the ABI’s detectors at an operating temperature of about 60 Kelvin. They said that the system is not working as it programmed for 13 of the instrument’s 16 bands. Three other bands which operate at the visible wavelengths are not affected by this cooling issue.
According to the Stephen Volz, who is the head of the NOAA’s satellite and Information Service said, “This is a serious problem. This is the premier Earth-pointing instrument on the GOES platform. If they are not functioning fully, it is a loss, a performance issue we have to address.” The problem which was occurred in the satellite seems to be with the cryocooler unit and its associated hardware which is present in the instrument. As per Pam Sullivan, who is the NASA flight project manager for the GOES-R program said, “The heat pipes that transport heat from the cryocooler to the external radiator do not seem to be working as intended right now.”
Tim Walsh, acting GOES-R system program direct at NASA said, “That causes problems only when the spacecraft is on the nighttime part of the Earth, where the instrument gets more heating from the sun. There’s a portion of the day centred around satellite local midnight where the data is not usable, and that’s currently what we’re addressing.”