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ASK OCE  June, 14, 2006 Vol. 1, Issue 9


NASA recently launched three satellites that will enhance scientists’ ability to understand the weather.

GOES-N, a new geostationary operational environmental satellite designed to track hurricanes and other severe weather patterns that affect the United States, was launched from Cape Canaveral on May 25 aboard a Delta IV rocket.

The satellite, the thirteenth in the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) program, is the first in the new GOES-N/O/P series. It will be renamed GOES-13 once it reaches final orbit. The GOES program is a joint effort of NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

GOES-13 will be instrumental in supplying critical data for timely and precise forecasts and severe weather warnings, including potentially violent weather events such as tornadoes, winter storms and hurricanes. It will also monitor data on solar storm activity, relay emergency beacon distress signals, monitor the oceans, and observe drought and flood conditions.

A novel feature of GOES-13 is a dedicated broadcast capability to be used by the Emergency Managers Weather Information Network, as well as a new digital weather facsimile capability for more effective transmissions of data and products.

CloudSat and CALIPSO (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations) were launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on April 28, 2006 atop a Boeing Delta II rocket. The two satellites will eventually circle approximately 705 kilometers (438 miles) above Earth in a sun-synchronous polar orbit, meaning they will always cross the equator at the same local time. Their technologies will enable scientists to study how clouds and aerosols (tiny particles suspended in the air) form, evolve and interact.

The satellites will fly in formation as members of NASA’s “A-Train” constellation, which also includes NASA’s Aqua and Aura satellites and the French satellite PARASOL (Polarization and Anisotropy of Reflectances for Atmospheric Sciences coupled with Observations from a Lidar). When combined, the satellite data will provide insights into the global distribution and evolution of clouds to improve weather forecasting and climate prediction.

Read more about GOES-N.

Read more about CALIPSO/Cloudsat.

In This Issue

Message from the Chief Engineer

A View from Outside: Kazakhstan’s Spacecraft Junkyard

This Week in NASA History: Sally Ride Becomes First American Woman in Space

Tim Brady to Lead APPEL Systems Engineering Effort

NASA Engineering Network Comes Online

Recent Launches: GOES-N and CALIPSO/Cloudsat

Getting Ready for the Moon, Mars and Beyond

GAO: DoD Acquisition Reforms Have Not Reduced Problems

Archimedes Archive: The Transatlantic Cable of 1866

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