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40 years of GOES: The anniversary of GOES-1

16 October 2015

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40 years ago, on 16 October 1975, NOAA's first Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Known as GOES-A when it launched, the satellite was designated GOES-1 once operational.

GOES-1 returned its first image only nine days later on 25 October, and quickly became an essential tool used by the NOAA's National Weather Service.

Using a Visible/Infrared Spin Scan Radiometer (VISSR), the satellite provided day and night observations of cloud and surface temperatures, cloud heights and wind fields. Although GOES-1 was spin-stabilized, only viewing Earth about 10 percent of the time and providing data in only two dimensions, it gave forecasters their first near-real time look at atmospheric conditions from a fixed location.

GOES-1 remained active throughout the launches of GOES-2-6, until finally being decommissioned on 7 March 1985.


Image credit: NOAA - Artist's concept of GOES-1

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