With the recent EF5 Tornado in and loss of life in Moore Oklahoma the importance of continuous coverage by weather satellites is even more important and evident. One of the main Satellites NOAA uses to monitor the eastern United States, GOES 13 has failed. The satellite issue started on May 22nd at 03:40 UTC. The satellite failed to deliver images and engineers were called in to asses the issue. Attempts were made to recover the satellite imaging capability but these were unsuccessful. GOES 15 was pressed into service to temporally fill the data gap by placing it in a full disk schedule.
GOES 13 was placed into storage mode while NOAA determines the next steps to take in possible recovery of the satellite. GOES 14 has been activated and will be configured in order to replace GOES 13. GOES 13 was launched in 2006 and was expected to have a 10 year life span. This is the second issue thus far with GOES 13, it also fail doe three weeks in September 2012. With the re-positioning of GOES 14 to back fill GOES 13 there are no more on orbit spare GOES satellites.
GOES stands for Geostationary Environmental Operational Satellite. The satellites orbit the earth at the same speed the earth rotates. In this way the satellites stay fixed in the same location over the planet.