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GOES-D Spac0273.jpg
GOES-D before launch
Mission type Weather satellite
Operator NOAA/NASA
COSPAR ID 1980-074A
Mission duration 7 years (planned)
8.2 years (achieved)
Spacecraft properties
Bus HS-371
Manufacturer Hughes
Launch mass 660 kilograms (1,460 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date 9 September 1980, 22:27 (1980-09-09UTC22:27Z) UTC
Rocket Delta 3914
Launch site Cape Canaveral LC-17A
Contractor McDonnell Douglas
End of mission
Disposal Decommissioned
Deactivated 9 October 1988 (1988-10-10)
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Geostationary
Longitude 98° West (1980-1981)
135° West (1981-1983)
139° West (1983-1984)
10° West (1985)
44° West (1985-1988)
Slot GOES-WEST (1981-1983)
Period 24 hours

GOES 4, known as GOES-D before becoming operational, was a geostationary weather satellite which was operated by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as part of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite system.[1] Launched in 1980, it was used for weather forecasting in the United States, and later in Europe. Following its retirement it became the first satellite to be sent into a graveyard orbit.

Limited lifespan[edit]

Launch of GOES-D on a Delta 3914

GOES 4 was built by Hughes Space and Communications, and was based around the HS-371 satellite bus. At launch it had a mass of 660 kilograms (1,460 lb),[2] with an expected operational lifespan of around seven years.[3] It was the first HS-371 based GOES satellite.[4]

Launch and orbit[edit]

GOES-D was launched using a Delta 3914 carrier rocket flying from Launch Complex 17A at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.[5] The launch occurred at 22:27 GMT on 9 September 1980.[6] The launch successfully placed GOES-D into a geosynchronous transfer orbit, from which it raised itself to geostationary orbit by means of an onboard Star-27 apogee motor. Its insertion into geostationary orbit occurred at 12:00 on 11 September.[7]

Following its insertion into geostationary orbit, GOES 4 was positioned at 98° West. In 1981, it was moved to 135° West, where it remained until 1983 when it was moved to 139° West (1983–1984). In 1985 it was repositioned at 10° West, and later 44° West, where it provided coverage of Europe for EUMETSAT following the failure of the Meteosat-2 spacecraft.[8]

Graveyard orbit[edit]

Following the end of its operations over Europe, GOES 4 was retired from service. It became the first spacecraft to be raised out of geosynchronous orbit, into a graveyard orbit for disposal.[9] This was accomplished on 9 November 1988, using remaining propellent in the satellite's station-keeping thrusters.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "GOES-4". The GOES Program - ESE 40th Anniversary. NASA. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  2. ^ "GOES 4". NSSDC Master Catalog. US National Space Science Data Center. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  3. ^ "Hughes Checks Out GOES-D". Flight International. 1980-08-16. p. 598. 
  4. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "GOES 4, 5, 6, G, 7". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  5. ^ Wade, Mark. "GOES". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  6. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  7. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Index". Geostationary Orbit Catalog. Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  8. ^ "CONSOLIDATED REPORT OF CGMS ACTIVITIES" (PDF). CGMS. 2003-10-15. p. 20. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-12-12. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  9. ^ "Weather Eyes". Flight International. 1989-03-11. p. 27.