NOAA 99 GOES Demated
Contact: Pat Viets


An advanced U.S. weather satellite that will monitor hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, flash floods and other severe weather, was de-mated today from its launch vehicle at Cape Canaveral Air Station, the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced today.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, or GOES-L, was de-mated from an Atlas IIA rocket on Launch Pad 36A, and is being returned to Astrotech, Titusville, Fla., its original integration facility. While the satellite is at Astrotech, its batteries will be reconditioned, and a gaseous nitrogen purge will be performed to components on the satellite to prevent degradation.

The satellite was mated to the launch vehicle on May 6. It has been on the launch pad awaiting launch since that time. The launch was originally scheduled for mid-May, but was delayed to allow NASA and NOAA time to review recent Titan and Delta launch failures. It also allows results of internal reviews by the rocket manufacturers and by the Air Force.

After the launch constraints are resolved, NOAA GOES-L will pick up the launch count at launch minus 20 days. Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the launch vehicle and provider of commercial launch services, continues to reschedule the launch to the next reasonable launch opportunity, in the event that the launch constraints are lifted.

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-L 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. After the satellites complete on-orbit checkout, NOAA assumes responsibility for command and control, data receipt, and product generation and distribution. The GOES satellites are a critical component of the ongoing National Weather Service modernization program, aiding forecasters in providing more precise and timely forecasts.

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.

The final satellite in the current GOES series will be launched as required to support NOAA's dual-satellite geostationary observing system.

GOES information and imagery are available on the World Wide Web at: