GOES 17 Testing and Transition to Operations

GOES-17 Post-Launch Testing and Transition to Operations

Transition to Operations

March 23, 2023

GOES-17 began drifting from its current location of 89.5 degrees west longitude to its GOES West operational location of 137.2 degrees west longitude on October 24, 2018. The satellite completed drift on November 13, 2018, and arrived at its final operational location of 137.2 degrees west. The change from 137.0 to 137.2 has been made for operational efficiency and to minimize impacts from other geostationary satellites.

Following two days of calibration activity, all instruments resumed data distribution on November 15, 2018. After undergoing additional testing and calibration at 137.2 degrees west longitude, GOES-17 transitioned to operations as NOAA’s GOES West satellite on February 12, 2019.

GOES-15 continued to operate in tandem with GOES-17, as a precaution, while engineers worked on technical issues with the loop heat pipes, until NOAA powered off GOES-15 and placed it into orbital storage on March 2, 2020. NOAA returned the GOES-15 imager to temporary service in 2020 and 2021 to supplement GOES-17 observations during the “warm” periods that degraded some GOES-17 imagery during the during the peak period for Eastern Pacific tropical cyclones. GOES-18, launched on March 1 2022, provided operational ABI data during GOES-17 warm periods, beginning in August 2022. GOES-18 replaced GOES-17 as the operational GOES West satellite on January 4, 2023. GOES-17 was moved to 105 degrees west longitude and now serves as an on-orbit standby to the operational GOES constellation.

Learn more about the GOES-17 cooling system issue and effects on imagery.

GOES West Transition Plan for Operationalization of GOES-17

Details as of January 29, 2020
Please Note:
The following dates are subject to change based on operational needs.

COLOR KEY: GOES West Operational Satellite

Tables scroll horizontally on smaller windows and devices.

  GOES-15 GOES-17
Date Location Activity Location Activity

135°W (no change)

GVAR relay through GOES-14 begins

89.5°W (no change) No change

135°W (no change)

No Change

Drift start at 2.5°/day moving westward

  • Five instruments (ABI, EXIS, GLM, SUVI, SEISS) placed in safe or diagnostic modes with no data capture or distribution.
  • Only MAG continues operating, but with data outages on days of drift start (10/24 & 25) and drift stop (11/12 & 13).

Drift start at 0.88°/day moving eastward

All Instruments and Services remain on with nominal GVAR and LRIT distribution

Still Drifting No Change

Drift stop at 128°W

No change

Still Drifting

No Change

128°W (no change)

GVAR relay through GOES-14 ends, GOES-15 GVAR direct broadcast continues

Drift stop at 137.2°W

  • ABI, EXIS, GLM, SEISS, SUVI commanded to nominal operation modes.
  • ABI INR convergence begins.

128°W (no change)

Disable DCPR transponder

137.2°W (no change)

  • Data distribution resumes for SBN/AWIPS, PDA, GNC-A, CLASS. Activate GRB RF, DCS, HRIT/EMWIN, SARSAT. All data distribution services on for GOES-17.
  • GOES-17 L2 products continue validation towards Provisional & Full Validation Maturity levels.
February 12, 2019 – March 2, 2020

128°W (no change)

  • LRIT broadcast disabled
  • Simultaneous GOES-West (GOES-17) and GOES-15 operations

137.2°W (no change)

Simultaneous GOES-West (GOES-17) and GOES-15 operations


  • GOES-14 EMWIN and MDL (No SXI or XRS/EUV) remain enabled throughout entire time period.
  • No planned maneuvers/special operations during the Veterans Day and Thanksgiving federal holidays.
  • No GOES West transition/interruption during Critical Weather Days.