The nation's new geostationary weather satellite, GOES-10, has successfully completed testing and is ready to replace one of the country's older weather satellites when needed, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced today.

GOES satellite images are best known to television viewers as the cloud images that are shown on weather forecasts.

GOES-10, which was launched in April 25, 1997, is currently stored in orbit, ready to replace GOES-8 or -9 when one of them fails. GOES-8 overlooks the east coast of North and South America, and well out into the Atlantic Ocean. GOES-9 overlooks the west coast and out into the Pacific Ocean, including Hawaii.

"Having a satellite to back up the GOES system is a major accomplishment," said Gerry Dittberner, NOAA's GOES program manager. "If one of the older GOES satellites fails, GOES-10 can be pressed into service without delay. Previously, if a satellite failed, we might have to wait months to replace it. With GOES-10 stored in orbit, we will be able to receive data within two days of activation."

For the past year GOES-10 has been tested by NASA, NOAA, and contract engineers. It experienced problems several months ago, and was inverted. It has been orbiting in the inverted mode since then, and all systems have been performing well.

NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service operates the GOES series of satellites at NOAA's Satellite Operations Control Center in Suitland, Md.

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center manages the design, development, and launch of the GOES spacecraft for NOAA. Once a satellite is successfully checked out, NASA turns it over to NOAA for operations, including responsibility for command and control, data receipt, and product generation and distribution. NASA turned GOES-10 over to NOAA on June 5.

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