GOES-T is scheduled to launch on March 1, 2022. Upon reaching geostationary orbit, the satellite will be renamed GOES-18. Following a successful on-orbit checkout of its instruments and systems, NOAA plans to put GOES-18 immediately into operational service, replacing GOES-17 as GOES-West. GOES-17 will be placed in on-orbit storage.
The GOES-R Program is working on a post-launch testing (PLT) plan that will get GOES-18 into position near the current GOES-West location in August 2022, so its Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) data will be available for the “warm” period that degrades some GOES-17 imagery during the height of hurricane season.
The plan involves a “split” PLT period of two phases. The satellite will be launched to the regular 89.5 degrees west checkout location and undergo part one of PLT. GOES-18 will then drift to 136.8 west and perform the remainder of PLT at that location near GOES-West. The 0.4 degree offset from GOES-17 will allow X-band RDL downlink from both GOES-17 and GOES-18. The 0.2 degree offset from 137.0W meet ground system product generation requirements. Both GOES-17 and GOES-18 images will be remapped to 137.0W.
The transition plan allows for early operational use of GOES-18 ABI data after Beta maturity is achieved and incorporates radio frequency conflict mitigation between GOES-17 and GOES-18 and telemetry and command uplinks and downlinks. Users will not need to repoint their antennas. GOES-18 ABI data will be available via a Cloud interface and interleaving with GOES-17 non-ABI product data.
After its operational transition, GOES-18 will be nudged over to the GOES-West position at 137.2W and GOES-17 will drift to 105W and placed in on-orbit storage. Assuming a normal launch and checkout, GOES-18 will transition to the operational GOES-West satellite in early 2023.
GOES-West Transition Plan for Operationalization of GOES-18
Details as of November 17, 2021
Please Note: The following dates are subject to change based on launch, on-orbit checkout activities, and operational needs.
|COLOR KEY:||GOES-West Operational Satellite||GOES-18 ABI data interleaved in GOES-17 data|
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|Date (Based on 3/1/22 Launch||GOES-17||GOES-T/18|
|3/1 – 3/23||137.2°W||GOES-West Operations||Launch and Orbit Raising|
|3/24 – 5/15||89.5°W||GOES-18 PLT Part 1
|5/16 – 6/6||Drift to 136.8W||GOES-18 Drift from 89.5W to 136.8W
|6/7||136.8°W||GOES-18 PLT Part 2 begins|
|7/25||136.8°W||GOES-18 ABI reaches Beta maturity
|8/1-9/6||137.2°W||GOES-17 ABI Warm Period
||136.8°W||GOES-18 ABI data interleaved in GOES-17 data|
||136.8°W||GOES-18 product maturation continues
||136.8°W||GOES-18 PLT Part 2 Complete (9/26)
|Est. 1/3||137.2°W||Full GOES-18 GRB relayed through G-17
||136.8°W||GOES-18 Declared operational GOES-West
|1/4 – 1/11||Full GOES-18 GRB relayed through GOES-17 during longitude shift||Slow drift to 137.2°W||GOES-18 gradual shift to 137.2|
|1/12||Drift to 105°W||End GOES-18 data relay through GOES-17 RF
||137.2°W||GOES-18 Nominal Distribution
Product Data Interleaving
The National Weather Service requested that the GOES-R Program distribute Beta GOES-18 ABI products during the August 2022 warm season. Interleaving is a method that allows the GOES-R ground system to merge data from multiple satellites into a single data-processing flow. Data to the AWIPS and GRB uplink can be configured to contain a mixture of data from GOES-17 non-ABI instruments or the GOES-18 ABI. The data will present to the user as a single GOES-West stream.
When interleaving, all product metadata will be maintained so the original source spacecraft designator will remain intact. Users will always be able to determine which satellite generated the data being accessed.