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GOES 18 Testing and Transition to Operations

GOES-18 Post-Launch Testing and Transition to Operations

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
Date Location Activity Location Activity
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
  • Instrument Outgassing, Spacecraft PLT
  • First ABI Image (Vis & IR) @ 89.5W
5/16 – 6/6 Drift to 136.8W GOES-18 Drift from 89.5W to 136.8W
  • PLT activities paused; No GOES-18 product data
6/7 136.8°W GOES-18 PLT Part 2 begins
7/25 136.8°W GOES-18 ABI reaches Beta maturity
  • GOES-18 ABI ‘supplemental’ data via Cloud
8/1-9/6 137.2°W GOES-17 ABI Warm Period
  • GOES-18 ABI interleaved in G-17 data
  • 136.8°W GOES-18 ABI data interleaved in GOES-17 data
    9/6-12/6 137.2°W GOES-West Operations
  • GOES-17 Nominal Distribution
  • 136.8°W GOES-18 product maturation continues
    • GOES-18 ABI ‘supplemental’ data via Cloud
    9/26 137.2°W GOES-West Operations
  • GOES-17 Nominal Distribution
  • 136.8°W GOES-18 PLT Part 2 Complete (9/26)
    • NASA Post Launch Assessment Review (9/24)
    • Handover Readiness Review (10/3)
    • GOES-18 Handover to OSPO (10/3)
    Est. 1/3 137.2°W Full GOES-18 GRB relayed through G-17
    • Users do not need to re-point antennas
    • X-band downlink off and instruments shut down
    136.8°W GOES-18 Declared operational GOES-West
    • Ops Transition Readiness Review held 1 week prior
    • Begin full GOES-18 GRB broadcast (relay through G-17)
    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
    • GOES-17 drift to 105°W followed by storage mode
    137.2°W GOES-18 Nominal Distribution
    • End GOES-18 GRB relay through G-17
    • Begin GOES-18 GRB broadcast / nominal distribution
    • SAR/DCS services transitioned to G-18

    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.


    Level zero data from all 3 spacecraft will be stored in LZSS

    nominal and failover PLT