Beginning in 1998, SARSAT hardware was also installed on geostationary satellites that reside 22,300 miles in altitude above the equator, orbiting the Earth at the same rate at which it turns beneath them. Because of this, they appear to remain over a fixed point on the Earth's surface. This high perch is ideal for making uninterrupted observations of the weather or environmental conditions over an enormous area, and enables the immediate detection, in their field of view, of distress beacons. However, unlike polar-orbiting satellites, those in geostationary orbit cannot view the Earth's polar regions.The current constellation of operational SARSAT-equipped polar-orbiting satellites include NOAA-15, -16, -18 and -19 – all Advanced TIROS-N satellites, built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems. The European METOP-A weather satellite completes that constellation. The six operational geostationary satellites hosting SARSAT payloads are NOAA's GOES East (GOES-13) and GOES West (GOES-15) with two satellites in stand by (GOES-12, GOES-14), India's INSAT-A satellite, the European Meteosat Second Generation satellites MSG-2 and MSG-3, and Russia's Electro-L No. 1.
Lockheed Martin Marks 30th Anniversary Of First Search And Rescue Hosted Payload On U.S. Weather Satellites
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