NASA/NOAA Open Investigation Into Goes 17 Anomaly

The GOES S / GOES 17 spacecraft being readied for its flight atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket.
Photo Credit: Vikash Mahadeo / SpaceFlight Insider

An “anomaly” that one of the GOES 17 satellite’s instruments has encountered has required NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to open an investigation. The agencies are concerned that the issue might impact future missions.

Everything appeared to be going well with the GOES-17 (formerly known as GOES S) satellite after its deployment and the early days of the mission. However, a problem discovered during the checkout of the spacecraft’s Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) found that the device’s infrared detectors were unable to operate at the temperatures necessary.

The issue appears to extend to revolve around “certain seasonal and orbital conditions,” and only impacts the ABI’s availability for approximately three percent of the year.

The ABI’s primary manufacturer was Harris Corporation Space and Intelligence Systems.

The defect with the ABI affects a key design requirement and, as such, NASA and NOAA are forming a panel to discover what caused the problem so as to develop methods to ensure that the situation isn’t repeated on future satellites.

The investigation board will be led by David McGowan the Chief Engineer at NASA’s Langley Research Center located in Virginia. Other members, who hail from several other NASA centers will form the remainder of the panel and include: Dr. Joel Lachter, human factors investigator, NASA’s Ames Research Center, Rich Slywczak, safety officer, NASA’s Glenn Research Center, Hank Rotter, NASA Engineering and Safety Center technical fellow for active thermal systems, NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Julie Grantier, senior technical lead for systems engineering, NASA’s Glenn Research Center.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) 17 spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 (AV-077) rocket at 5:02 p.m. EST (21:02 GMT) on March 1, 2018.

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