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May 2012 Issue

NOAA Retires GOES-7 Satellite, Plans Next-Gen GOES-R
The GOES-7 satellite, one of NOAA’s earliest geostationary satellites, was moved into a higher orbit and retired from service in April.

GOES-7 was retired through a final burn from its booster, which moved it approximately 300 kilometers above its operational geostationary orbit to a graveyard orbit that will prevent it from interfering with other satellites. A final maneuver adjusted the spin rate of the spacecraft and depleted all remaining fuel, then the communications packages were turned off and the satellite powered down.

GOES-7 was launched in 1987 and initially served as a critical weather satellite, capturing images of developing hurricanes and other severe storms. The satellite was the sole geostationary spacecraft from 1989 to 1994 in the wake of its predecessor’s, GOES-6, failure.

The spacecraft occupied a western position in the winter to cover Pacific storms into California and the Northwest, and an eastern position in the summer to cover East Coast hurricanes.

In 1999, the Pan-Pacific Education and Communication Experiments by Satellite (PEACESAT) program began using GOES-7 for communications in the Pacific islands to enable medical video teleconference consultations as a means of providing health services to remote areas.

At the moment, NOAA operates GOES-13 and GOES-15, which are providing continuous coverage of the United States and the Western Hemisphere. NOAA’s other geostationary satellites in orbit are GOES-12, which provides data for meteorologists in South America, and GOES-14, which is in storage orbit as a ready replacement.

The agency is planning the next generation of geostationary satellites, GOES-R, with the first ready to launch in 2015. GOES-R is expected to more than double the clarity of present GOES imagery and provide more atmospheric observations and more frequent images.

Data from GOES-R instruments will be used to create products that NOAA meteorologists and others will use to monitor the atmosphere, land, ocean and the sun. For more information click here.


USCG Sinks Ryou-Un Maru Offshore Alaska
The 110-foot U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) cutter Anacapa sank in April the derelict fishing vessel Ryou-Un Maru, the first reported major debris from the Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan last year, 180 miles west of Sitka, Alaska.

The sinking of the Ryou-Un Maru involved the Anacapa crew completing two gunnery evolutions to shoot highly explosive ammunition into the vessel until it sank in 6,072 feet of water.

Light sheening and minimal debris have been reported after the sinking, with the sheening expected to quickly dissipate at sea. Officials had limited concerns about any biological threats posed by the vessel due to the length of time it spent at sea.

The sinking of the vessel was delayed due to another fishing vessel, Bernice, operating in the vicinity whose master initially expressed interest in salvaging the Ryou-Un Maru. The Bernice, however, left the area after determining it was not safe to salvage or tow the vessel. The USCG continued with the operation once the Bernice departed.

The USCG had deployed in late March a data marker buoy developed by Metocean Services International Pty Ltd. (Hobart, Australia) to track the Ryou-Un Maru. The buoy provided position updates of the unmanned vessel to the Coast Guard via a radio/GPS signal.

Due to its location in the busy shipping lanes near the Dixon Entrance, the vessel was a potential hazard to navigation.Because of the size differences and dynamics involved between the buoy and the 150- to 200-foot-long ship, the Coast Guard also conducted daily flights to redetermine the vessel’s precise location.

“For the safety of mariners, sinking the vessel was the quickest way to properly address the [navigational and environmental] danger this unattended vessel posed,” said Capt. Daniel Travers, Coast Guard District 17 incident manager.


EnScrub Treats Hydrocarbons From Scrubber Effluent
EnSolve Biosystems (Raleigh, North Carolina) was awarded a $445,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research Grant from the National Science Foundation to develop En­Scrub, a prototype treatment device for the removal of hydrocarbons from sulfur oxide (SOx) scrubber treatment systems.

EnScrub uses a combination of physical and biological methods to treat hydrocarbons from scrubber effluent.

Present scrubber systems focus on removing SOx and nitrogen oxides from ship engines instead of hydrocarbons that often end up in the scrubber effluent, thereby leading to likely violations of the International Maritime Organization’s clean-water standards due to excess hydrocarbon levels.

EnScrub will be an add-on to SOx scrubber systems and will complement products from other scrubber companies rather than compete with them, EnSolve said.

Phase I work was completed in 2011 and showed hydrocarbon reductions of greater than 99 percent from simulated scrubber effluent.

EnScrub is similar to EnSolve’s Petro­Liminator oil and water separator.


UK Agencies Order DIDSON Sonars for Fisheries Research
The Environment Agency of England and Wales ordered three more DIDSON multibeam sonar systems in April, in addition to its seven existing units, to increase its remote non-invasive monitoring capacity for fisheries studies.

The MacArtney Underwater Technology Group (Esbjerg, Denmark) will supply DIDSON’s next-generation Adaptive Resolution Imaging Sonar (ARIS) from Sound Metrics Corp. (Lake Forest Park, Washington).

Marine Scotland has also placed an order for a standard 300-meter-rated DIDSON, which will be used by the Scotland Freshwater Laboratory for fisheries research.

In addition, the Environment Agency in Wales purchased a DIDSON long-range imaging sonar.


2013:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC
2012:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC

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