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(Fwd) Press Release - Solar Storms

I thought many would find this of interest...

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Subject:        	Press Release - Solar Storms

 NOAA 01-072
Contact: Patricia Viets, NOAA
  (301) 457-5005    June 21, 2001
  Cynthia O’Carroll, NASA
  (301) 614-5563
  Barbara McGehan, NOAA
  (303) 497-6288


 Forecasters will soon be able to better detect solar storms that
could adversely impact technological systems on Earth thanks
to an instrument called a Solar X-ray Imager (SXI) that will be
carried into space aboard a new satellite of the Commerce
Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

 NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information
Service (NESDIS) and NASA today announced the scheduled
launch of the new Geostationary Operational Environmental
Satellite or GOES-M environmental satellite.  The GOES-M is the
first of the NOAA satellites equipped with the new solar storm
detection instrument.  The launch is slated to take place on July 15
at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

 "The Solar X-ray Imager will provide the kind of improvements
in space weather forecasting that satellite imagery did for tracking
hurricanes," said Steven Hill, SXI Program Manager at NOAA’s
Space Environment Center in Boulder, Colo.  “The Solar X-ray
Imager will enable us to better protect billions of dollars worth of
commercial and government assets in space and on the ground."
 The instrument will take a full-disk image of the sun's atmosphere
once every minute.  The images will be used by NOAA and the
U.S. Air Force to monitor and forecast the sources of space
weather disturbances from the sun, enabling forecasters to predict
disturbances to Earth’s space environment that can fry satellite
electronics, disrupt long-distance radio communications or surge
power grids.

 The ability to monitor and forecast solar disturbances is valuable
to operators and users of military and civilian radio and satellite
communications systems, navigation systems and power networks,
as well as to astronauts, high-altitude aviators and scientists.

-more -
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 “NASA is excited about providing another fine tool for the
NOAA team to use in weather operations, including space
weather forecasts,” said Martin A. Davis, NASA GOES
program manager at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt,
Md.  The launch of the GOES-M is the continuation of a
25-year joint program between NASA and NOAA.

 NOAA’s GOES satellites also are workhorses of weather
forecasting in the United States.  The real-time weather data
gathered by GOES satellites, combined with data from Doppler
radar and automated surface observing systems, greatly aids
weather forecasters in providing better warnings of severe weather.

 The United States operates two meteorological satellites in
geostationary orbit 22,300 miles over the equator.  The GOES-8
operates over the East Coast and Atlantic Ocean and the
GOES-10 operates over the West Coast, the Pacific Ocean and
Hawaii. GOES-M will be stored on orbit, ready for operation
when needed as a replacement for GOES-8 or –10.  It joins
GOES-11, also in storage.  NOAA assigns a letter to a satellite
before it is launched, and a number once it has achieved
successful orbit.  GOES-M will become GOES-12 once
achieving orbit.

 NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data, and
Information Service operates the GOES series of satellites.
 After the satellites complete on-orbit checkout, NOAA
assumes responsibility for command and control, data receipt,
product generation and distribution.

 NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the design,
development and launch of the spacecraft for NOAA.  NASA's
Kennedy Space Center in Florida is responsible for government
oversight of launch operations and countdown activities.
 GOES-M, built by Space Systems/Loral, a subsidiary of Loral
Space and Communications Ltd., will be launched on an Atlas
IIA rocket, built by Lockheed Martin. The Solar X-ray Imager
was built by NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center.  The on-board
meteorological instruments for GOES-M include an imager and
a sounder manufactured by ITT Industries Aerospace/
Communications Division.  The other instruments on GOES-M
that will monitor the space environment are an Energetic Particle
Sensor, a High Energy Proton and Alpha Detector Monitor, X-ray
Sensors, and two magnetometers.

 The images taken by the Solar X-ray Imager will be available in
real time to the general public via the World Wide Web, through
NOAA’s National Geophysical Data Center Web site at

Video File Feed:  A GOES-M B-roll of imagery and other
materials will be broadcast during NASA TV video file feed
scheduled for June 21 at noon, 3:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m.
and midnight EDT.  The video file will also be broadcast at
these same times on the day of the pre-launch press briefing
and on the day of the launch.  NASA TV is broadcast on GE-2,
transponder 9C, C-band, located at 85 degrees West Longitude.
The frequency is 3880 MHz.  Polarization is vertical and audio
is monaural at 6.8 MHz.

Editors’ Note: GOES information and imagery are available at:
http://www.goes.noaa.gov, http://goes1.gsfc.nasa.gov,
Space Weather Information is available at:  http://sec.noaa.gov

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