WAILEA, Hawaii — A retired National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration geostationary weather satellite is being handed over to the U.S. Air Force to fill in a gap in the service’s forecasting requirements.
NOAA spokesman John Leslie confirmed Sept. 19 that the GOES-13 satellite, decommissioned by NOAA in 2018, is being transferred to the Air Force to operate at a new orbital location, which the agency did not disclose.
“Consistent with a memorandum of agreement between the U.S. Air Force and NOAA on space-based environmental monitoring, NOAA is transferring the decommissioned GOES-13 satellite, which previously operated for 10 years in the GOES-East position, to the U.S. Air Force at the agency’s request,” Leslie said in an email to SpaceNews.
Satellite observers, in particular amateur trackers, had noticed in recent weeks that the GOES-13 satellite had been drifting west. NOAA had made no public announcement about the satellite, but some speculated that it was being moved to another orbital slot to serve the Air Force.
Leslie said that with the two newest GOES satellites, GOES-16 and -17, in operation at the GOES-East and GOES-West orbital locations respectively, and with GOES-14 as a spare, “NOAA can provide GOES-13 to the Air Force for ...