GOES-11 goes weather watching…after a while

GOES-11After over a year of launch delays, NOAA’s GOES-11 Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite is launched from Cape Canaveral into geosynchronous orbit to monitor weather patterns over the United States. It will be held in reserve until 2006, when it will be moved to the GOES-WEST position to replace GOES-10, which is nearly out of fuel. The longevity of its predecessor means that GOES-11 doesn’t begin its active daily weather-watching until a year after the end of its projected five-year design lifespan, and GOES-12 will actually go active before GOES-11. GOES-11 will remain in service through the end of 2011, when it will boost itself into a higher-than-geostationary “graveyard” orbit and shut down.