GREENBELT, Md., 30 July 2009. The latest Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-14) provided its first visible full-disk image of Earth on July 27. The prime instrument on GOES, called the Imager, is taking images of Earth with a 1-kilometer (km) or 0.62-mile resolution from an altitude of 36,000 km (22,240 miles) above Earth's surface, equivalent to taking a picture of a dime from a distance of seven football fields.
The Imager was built by ITT Industries Inc. in Fort Wayne, Ind. The Imager is mounted on an ultra-stable optical bench on a spacecraft built by Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems of El Segundo, Calif. Star trackers on the spacecraft provide the attitude reference in order to point the instruments and keep the images jitter-free, reveals a representative.
"Capturing this first sharp image is a major milestone for our GOES team. It represents a culmination of this team's hard work and dedication. We still have more to do but full mission success is clearly in our sights," says Andre' Dress, the NASA GOES N Series deputy project manager, at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems handed over engineering control of GOES-14 to NASA on July 18, at the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Md.
NASA expects to complete checkout of the satellite by mid-December and hand it over to NOAA for operational use.
Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems built GOES-O and provided the commercial launch services through Boeing Launch Services and the United Launch Alliance.