On Aug. 16, NOAA announced the retirement of its GOES-12 satellite, turning their attention toward launching the new GOES-R satellites.
There are two types of satellites in orbit today that supply meteorologists with an abundance of global weather information. Geostationary operational environmental satellites (GOES) are used for "national, regional, short-range warning and ‘now-casting,'" according to NOAA.
The other type of satellites are polar-orbiting environmental satellites (POES) for "global, long-term forecasting and environmental monitoring."
Satellites are pivotal in gathering an overall picture of the weather pattern, as well as local weather information. They are important for tracking hurricanes and typhoons and estimating cloud heights that can give meteorologists information on the severity of thunderstorms.
When GOES-12 was launched on July 23, 2001, it was only intended to last two to five years but has remained in operation to capture historic events such as Hurricane Katrina.
The satellite will be decommissioned by pushing it farther from Earth to prevent interference or possible collision with operational equipment. There, the fuel will run out and the transmitters will be turned off, left to float in space. NOAA still has two other operational GOES satellites, as well as one backup.
Watch the video below to see 10 years of GOES-12 imagery condensed to three minutes.