Today’s Tidbits: January 8, 2018

Today’s Tidbits: January 8, 2018

Here are our tidbits for January 8, 2018: GOES do-si-do; Lightfoot to receive 2018 National Space Trophy.  Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.


NOAA’s new GOES-16 officially took over the role of “GOES-East” today, replacing GOES-13.  After 10 years of service, GOES-13 is being retired, although it could be brought back into service if needed.

NOAA operates weather satellites in geostationary orbit above the equator as well as satellites in polar orbits that can view the entire globe.  The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) are particularly useful for monitoring the ocean’s tropical regions where hurricanes form.  Usually three GOES satellites are operational: one positioned over the Atlantic Ocean and eastern portion of the United States (GOES-East), another over the Pacific Ocean and western United States (GOES-West), and a third in between as a spare.  Until today, GOES-13 was GOES-East, GOES-15 was GOES-West, and GOES-14 was the spare.

GOES-16 is the first of a new “GOES-R” block of satellites with significantly advanced capabilities.  Launched in November 2016, GOES-16 was originally called GOES-R, the first of four in this new series, but was renamed GOES-16 once in orbit.  The next, GOES-S, is scheduled for launch on March 1, 2018 and will become GOES-17.  Once operational, it will be assigned to the GOES-West position.  GOES-T and GOES-U will launch in later years.

Lightfoot to Receive 2018 National Space Trophy

Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot has been selected to receive the 2018 National Space Trophy from the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement (RNASA) Foundation.  The award will be presented at a banquet in Houston, TX on April 27, 2018.

Lightfoot was nominated for the award by three NASA Center Directors: Ellen Ochoa, Johnson Space Center, Robert Cabana, Kennedy Space Center, and Todd May, Marshall Space Flight Center, for his “continued extraordinary accomplishments towards achieving NASA’s vision and mission, sustaining America’s leadership in space, and pushing the frontiers of science, discovery, and exploration.”

Lightfoot has been Acting NASA Administrator for almost a year,  since January 20, 2017 when President Obama’s political appointees (Administrator Charlie Bolden and Deputy Administrator Dava Newman) left at the end of the Obama Administration.  Lightfoot had been serving as NASA’s Associate Administrator, the top civil service position in the agency.  He was Director of Marshall Space Flight Center before coming to NASA Headquarters.

President Trump nominated Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) to be the new NASA Administrator, but he has not been confirmed by the Senate yet.  Trump just renominated him for the job this afternoon, but it is not clear when the Senate might vote on it.

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