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NOAA-15 turned over to NOAA

As observed by Ed Krome (K9EK), earlier on this reflector, NOAA-15 WX
has completed its two month, on-orbit verification.  NOAA yesterday began
the process of bringing the spacecraft to full operations.

Cynthia M. O'Carroll
Goddard Space Flight Center
(Phone: 301-286-6943)

Pat Viets
NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data and
Info. Service
Suitland, Md. July 7, 1998
(Phone: 301-457-5005)

John Leslie
National Weather Service
Silver Spring, Md.
(Phone: 301-713-0622)

RELEASE NO: 98-131


The newest polar-orbiting observational environmental satellite, NOAA-15 has
successfully completed a comprehensive, two month, on-orbit verification by
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The spacecraft was
turned over to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
today to begin the process of becoming fully operational.

The NOAA-15 spacecraft will improve weather forecasting and monitor
environmental events around the world. NOAA-15 is the first in a series of
five polar-orbiting satellites with improved imaging and sounding
capabilities that will operate over the next twelve years.

"The NOAA-15 satellite is working beautifully and the mission has been an
outstanding success," stated Harry McCain, the project manager for the
Polar-orbiting Observational Environmental Satellite program. "This success
is due to the professionalism of a large team of NASA, NOAA and contractor
personnel. Our primary contractors are Lockheed Martin, ITT, Aerojet, Ball
Aerospace, Panametrics and L3 Communications. We also have international
partners from the U.K., France and Canada. All are to be congratulated for
their significant contributions in achieving our joint goal of success for
the NOAA-15 mission."

NASA engineers successfully performed a series of over 300 on-orbit
verification tests since the May 13, 1998 launch to establish a satellite
performance baseline designed to characterize all aspects of instrument and
spacecraft operation. The resulting information provides NOAA with a
database to support product development and performance monitoring during
the operational phase of the mission. This same data provides NASA with
valuable insight into overall spacecraft subsystem and instrument
interaction, so that enhancements and/or ground test modifications may be
applied, if appropriate, to the follow on satellites, NOAA-L, M, N, and N

"Although significant changes were designed into this polar spacecraft,
flight software and hardware performance during the testing phase was
exceptional," said McCain. "All the instruments, including the new Advanced
Microwave Sounding Units (AMSU) suite of instruments, are working well." The
sounding instruments will provide critical information for weather
forecasting and climate modeling. A problem concerning some corrupted AMSU-B
science data can possibly be corrected by a combination of spacecraft
transmitter re-allocation and ground data processing.

An early problem with the deployment of the VHF Real-time Antenna has almost
completely corrected itself and the antenna is now fully functional and is
providing excellent imagery to the ground.

The direct broadcast of Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer instrument
data is providing imagery to scientific, commercial and educational groups
throughout the world. Once NOAA-15 is fully operational, the search and
rescue instruments will continue to support a global community that has
established ground stations that "listen" for distress beacons relayed
through the NOAA polar and Russian COSPAS satellites.

For 37 years, NASA and NOAA have worked jointly to perfect, develop and
continue the polar-orbiting program. Goddard engineers are responsible for
the construction, integration, launch and verification testing of the
spacecraft, instruments and unique ground equipment.

NOAA is responsible for program funding and the on-orbit operation of the
multi-satellite system. NOAA also determines the need for satellite
replacement. NOAA designs, develops, installs and integrates the ground
system needed to acquire, process and disseminate the data from the sensors
on the satellites.

More information on the polar-orbiting program can be found on the Internet
at: http://poes2.gsfc.nasa.gov  and http://www.2.ncdc.noaa.gov/doc/intro.htm

G. Beat

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