GOES 18 Testing and Transition to Operations

GOES-18 Post-Launch Testing and Transition to Operations

GOES-T launched on March 1, 2022, and was renamed GOES-18 upon reaching geostationary orbit at 89.5 degrees West on March 14. Following a successful on-orbit checkout and testing 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.

GOES-18 is undergoing a “split” post-launch testing (PLT) phase that places the satellite into position near the current GOES-West location of 137.2 degrees West so the GOES-18 Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) data will be available for the “warm” periods that degrade GOES-17 imagery during the height of hurricane season. 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.

The drift of GOES-18 from 89.5 degrees west to 136.8 degrees west was completed on June 6, 2022. A slight reconfiguration of the nominal GOES-West orbit location will then occur by nudging GOES-17 to the 137.3 degrees west location, providing room for nudging GOES-18 to the 137.0 degrees west location. From this location, GOES-18 will complete the remainder of its product testing and also provide an operational interleave of data. The interleave is the combination of GOES-18 ABI data "interleaved" with GOES-17 non-ABI product data (GLM, space weather instruments) via GOES-17 GOES Rebroadcast (GRB) and Product Distribution and Access (PDA). Two interleave periods will occur Aug. 1 – Sept. 6 and Oct. 15 – Nov. 11, 2022.

All products will be mapped to 137.0 degrees west and although all antennas should be re-peaked, only antennas larger than 7 meters will need to be repointed. NOAA plans for GOES-18 to assume the GOES-West role in early 2023.

GOES-West Transition Plan for Operationalization of GOES-18

Details as of July 21, 2022
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

Tables scroll horizontally on smaller windows and devices.

Date (Based on 3/1/22 Launch GOES-17 GOES-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 – 6/6 136.8W GOES-18 Drift from 89.5W to 136.8W
  • PLT activities paused; Science data for GMAG, but no other data.
6/7 GOES-18 PLT Part 2 begins and PLPT begins
7/5 – 7/15 (21) 137.3°W Orbit Nudge 137.2W to 137.3W: July 5-15, 2022 (10 days)
  • Antennas smaller than 7m should not need to repoint
  • Antennas larger than 7m should repoint
  • All users should re-peak antennas once nudge is over
137.0°W Orbit Nudge 136.8W to 137.0W: July 5-21, 2022 (16 days)
  • Antennas smaller than 7m should not need to repoint
  • Antennas larger than 7m should repoint
  • All users should re-peak antennas once nudge is over
7/27 137.3°W 137.0°W GOES-18 ABI reaches Provisional maturity
  • GOES-18 ABI ‘supplemental’ data via Cloud for NWS
8/1-9/6 137.3°W GOES-17 ABI Warm Period
  • GOES-18 ABI interleaved in GOES-17 GRB
137.0°W GOES-18 ABI data interleaved in GOES-17 GRB
9/6-10/15 137.3°W GOES-West Operations
  • GOES-17 Nominal Distribution
  • 137.0°W GOES-18 product maturation continues
    • PLT Part 2 ends Oct 3, 2022
    10/13-11/14 137.3°W GOES-17 ABI Warm Period
    • GOES-18 ABI interleaved in GOES-17 GRB
    137.0°W GOES-18 ABI data interleaved in GOES-17 GRB
    11/11-1/3 137.3°W GOES-West Operations
  • GOES-17 Nominal Distribution
  • 137.0°W GOES-18 product maturation continues
    • PLPT ends Jan 3, 2023
    1/3 137.3°W X-band downlink off and instruments shut down 137.0°W GOES-18 Declared operational GOES-West
    • Begin GOES-18 GRB broadcast / nominal distribution
    • SAR/DCS services transitioned to GOES-18
    1/12 105°W GOES-17 drift to 105°W, followed by storage mode 137.0°W

    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.


    GRB Interleave Spacecraft IDs & Metadata

    G17 GRB Nominal as GOES-West G18 GRB Interleaved w/ G16 ABI, G17 non-ABI G17 GRB Interleaved w/ G18 ABI, G17 non-ABI G18 GRB Nominal as GOES-West
    Interleave Test Configurations N/A GND-006 (May 9, 2022) GND-009 (May 11, 2022)
    GND-008 (June 30, 2022)
    N/A
    Operational Interleave Periods N/A N/A Aug 1, 2022 - Sep 6, 2022
    Oct. 13, 2022 - Nov. 14, 2022
    N/A
    Data Relay GRB Spacecraft ID (SCID) AOS frame header (8 bits) 0x82 0xE4 0x82 0xE4
    Data Source platform_ID metadata within ABI packets G17 G16 G18 G18
    instrument_ID metadata within ABI packets FM2 FM1 FM3 FM3

    Updated July 21, 2022

    GOES-18 Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) Band 7 “Barcode Artifact”

    Information as of July 28, 2022

    Once GOES-18 arrived at 136.8° W in early June 2022, vertically-oriented bars were discovered in some ABI Band 7 (3.9 μm) imagery that has not yet been mitigated as part of post-launch calibrations. The spatial pattern of the artifact is similar in appearance to a barcode.

    This “Barcode Artifact” is most evident in colder scenes (e.g. at night and in cold cloud tops). When Band 7 is used in multispectral imagery involving band differences, such as the Nighttime Microphysics RGB, the barcode artifact is more apparent.

    The “barcode artifact” can be seen in low liquid water clouds (colored blue) at night in this GOES-18 GeoColor product from July 21, 2022.
    The “barcode artifact” can be seen in low liquid water clouds (colored blue) at night in this GOES-18 GeoColor product from July 21, 2022.

    The GOES-18 ABI Band 7 “Barcode Artifact” is vertically oriented, distinguishing it from detector-level horizontal striping often seen in satellite imagery. This artifact is also different from the loop heat pipe anomaly-caused degradation seen in GOES-17 ABI infrared bands at certain times. The GOES-18 ABI cooling system underwent a redesign and NOAA and NASA are certain that this artifact is not related to the cooling system.

    Engineers are investigating the root cause of “Barcode Artifact” in Band 7 as well as possible mitigations.

    Products that may see impacts

    • Band 7 L1b and CMI
    • RGBs
    • Band differences involving Band 7
    • Other multispectral imagery products utilizing Band 7

    Products that are unlikely to see impacts

    • Other imagery bands
    • Any product that does not use Band 7
    • Some L2 data products that do use Band 7 (e.g. Fire Hot Spot Characterization, ABI-L2-FDC)

    Additional information and a number of imagery examples can be found in the GOES-18 Band 7 “Barcode Artifact” presentation.