Tuesday , August 16 2022

NASA has released a report on the weather satellite's failure



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A NASA board assigned to investigate the April 2018 failure of a new generation infrared detector on board a meteorological satellite has published its report. The malfunction is due to the blockage of the pipe, which impeded the flow of the required coolant.

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GOES S logo. Image Credit: NOAA / NASA

GOES S logo. Image Credit: NOAA / NASA

A NASA board assigned to investigate the April 2018 failure of a new generation infrared detector on board a meteorological satellite has published its report. The malfunction is due to the blockage of the pipe, which impeded the flow of the required coolant.

The most National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration& # 39; s (NOAA) Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-17 (GOES-17), launched on March 1, 2018 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The satellite is one of a series of next-generation meteorological satellites that perform atmospheric measurements and capture modern images, enabling scientists to observe real-time storms, forest fires, coastal fog and other potentially dangerous meteorological conditions. It is located in a geostationary orbit 35,300 miles above the earth's surface.

Data provided by GOES satellites enable meteorologists to provide earlier warnings and more accurate forecasts for people on dangerous weather or wildfire roads.

GOES S satellite in the clean room of the Astrotech facilities located in Titoville, Florida. Photo Credit: Mike Howard / SpaceFlight Insider

GOES S satellite in the clean room of the Astrotech facilities located in Titoville, Florida. Photo Credit: Mike Howard / SpaceFlight Insider

This particular satellite is indicated GOESBest because it tracks weather, fires, and environmental hazards in California, Alaska, Hawaii, and other regions of the Western States as well as the Pacific. Other satellites in this series, including GOES-16, 18 and 19, observe other regions, also from geostationary orbit.

Testing after GOES-17The launch revealed a problem with the infrared detectors of a tool known as Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI), the main tool that satellites use to map the Earth's oceans, environment and weather. In particular, mission scientists found that ABI infrared detectors could not be maintained at the temperatures required to maintain them. This is a major problem as ABI uses 16 spectral bands for Earth exploration – two in visible light, four in near-infrared and 10 in infrared.

GOES S was sent into orbit over the United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 (AV 077) rocket on March 1, 2019. Photo Credit: Ryan Chylinski / SpaceFlight Insider

GOES S was sent into orbit over the United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 (AV 077) rocket on March 1, 2019. Photo Credit: Ryan Chylinski / SpaceFlight Insider

The inability to maintain the required temperature of the instrument resulted in the partial failure of three of these bands at certain times of the year.

To determine what went wrong, NASA and NOAA appointed a Non-Compliance Investigative Board to collect information on abuse and analyze it to identify both root causes and causative factors. In a report published on July 30, 2019, the board concluded that the probable cause of the problem was a blockage of ABI heat pipes, which limited the flow of coolant, causing the instrument to overheat. In this condition, the sensitivity of its infrared sensors was compromised.

Mission scientists at both NASA and the NOAA Since then, they have been working to reduce damage and improve the quality of the data the satellite collects.

A full copy of the on-board report has been published, including recommendations to avoid future accidents online of NASA Reports and transcripts page.

Tagged: GOES-17 Leading Stories NASA NOAA Misconduct Investigation Board

Laurel Kornfeld

Laurel Kornfeld is an amateur and freelance writer from Highland Park, NJ, who enjoys writing about astronomy and planetary science. He studied journalism at Douglass College, University of Rutgers and earned a Higher Education Certificate from the Swinburne Online University Astronomy Program. Her writings have been published online at The Atlantic, guest blogs at Astronomy Magazine, the UK Space Conference, the IAU General Assembly Newspaper 2009, The Space Reporter, and newsletters from various astronomy clubs. She is a member of Cranford, NJ based Amateur Astronomers, Inc. Particularly interested in the external solar system, Laurel gave a brief presentation during the Big Planet Debate in 2008 held at the Johns Hopkins Laboratory of Applied Physics at Laurel, MD.

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