FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Patricia Viets
James Ulrich, an eighth-grade teacher at Daniel Boone Middle School in Birdsboro, Pa., has won a trip to the launch of the country's newest weather satellite, GOES-L, planned for launch May 15 from Cape Canaveral Air Station, Florida, the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced today.
Ulrich, who teaches earth and space science, won the trip as a door prize at the Satellites and Education Conference XII, held in March at West Chester University. The conference featured hands-on user demonstrations on satellites in classrooms, a briefing on the global satellite fleet, and a look at a host of new satellites. It also featured a drawing for a trip to the GOES-L launch, which Ulrich won. He will be accompanied to the launch by his son, James, 16.
GOES-L, an advanced U.S. weather satellite, will monitor hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, flash floods and other severe weather. The satellite will be renamed NOAA GOES-11 once reaching geostationary orbit.
GOES satellites are a mainstay of weather forecasting in the United States. They are the backbone of short-term forecasting. GOES images of clouds are well-known to all Americans; the images can be seen on television weather forecasts every day.
The United States operates two meteorological satellites in geostationary orbit 22,300 miles over the Equator, one over the East Coast and one over the West Coast. NOAA GOES-10, launched on April 25, 1997, is currently overlooking the West Coast out into the Pacific including Hawaii; it is located at 135 degrees West longitude. NOAA GOES-8, launched in April 1994, is overlooking the East Coast out into the Atlantic Ocean and is positioned at 75 degrees West. NOAA GOES-11 will be stored on orbit ready for operation when needed as a replacement for GOES-8 or -10.
NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service operates the GOES series of satellites. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center manages the GOES contract. Goddard manages the design, development, and launch of the spacecraft for NOAA. NASA's Kennedy Space Center is responsible for government oversight of launch operations and countdown activities. NOAA GOES-L, built by Space Systems/Loral, a subsidiary of Loral Space and Communications Ltd., will be launched on an Atlas IIA rocket, built by Lockheed Martin.