KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — A new weather satellite was locked into stationary orbit above the Atlantic Ocean on Friday by a motor fired one day early because of a heater problem.
"The firing went fine; there were no problems," said Larry Heacock, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's satellite operations center.
The $55-million GOES-7 satellite was launched Thursday by a Delta rocket. The on-board motor was triggered Friday by a radio command from a ground station when the satellite neared its high point in orbit.
The firing placed the satellite in stationary orbit at 22,237 miles high. At that altitude, a spacecraft travels at the same speed as the rotation of the Earth and thus hovers over one spot on the globe.