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.
When the GOES-R series of satellites – being built by Lockheed Martin – begin to enter service in 2015, all will host the SARSAT payload. In addition, it is likely that the USAF GPS III satellites, currently under development at Lockheed Martin, will host the payload as that system evolves.
LMSSC, a major operating unit of Lockheed Martin Corporation, designs and develops, tests, manufactures and operates a full spectrum of advanced-technology systems for national security and military, civil government and commercial customers. Chief products include human space flight systems; a full range of remote sensing, navigation, meteorological and communications satellites and instruments; space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft; laser radar; ballistic missiles; missile defense systems; and nanotechnology research and development.Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 120,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services. The Corporation's net sales for 2012 were $47.2 billion. Media Contact: Buddy Nelson, (510) 797-0349; e-mail, email@example.com
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