satellites are designed to constantly monitor the same region of the Earth.
They are placed in a geostationary orbit 35,800 kilometers (about 22,200
miles) above the Equator. At this altitude, a satellite orbits at the same
speed as the Earth rotates, so it remains fixed over one spot on the ground.
From this vantage point GOES can provide intensive coverage of a region's
daily weather developments, as well as, warnings of severe storms to come.
(Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite)
Since the first launch in 1975, GOES spacecraft have gone through several
generations of technical development. Unlike previous spin-stabilized satellites,
the current GOES series has a three-axis body-stabilized design that allows
its sensors to continuously point towards the Earth. A rotating solar array
supplies power, and a long solar sail boom balances the craft.
The National Air and Space Museum gratefully acknowledges the generous
donation of the GOES 1/2 scale model by Space Systems/LORAL, Palo Alto,