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Satellite instrument malfunction could hurt U.S. forecast accuracy

Hurricane seen from space
Weather system Arthur travels up the east coast provided by NASA from the the Earth-orbiting International Space Station. Photo: NOAA via Getty Images

The most important instrument on board a newly-deployed, state-of-the-art U.S. weather satellite is malfunctioning, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Wednesday. The satellite in question is part of the GOES-R program of geostationary satellites that orbit above a fixed location on Earth.

The problem: The problem concerns an instrument known as the Advanced Baseline Imager, or ABI, aboard the satellite. During the trial run following the satellite's launch on March 1, the instrument, which functions as the satellite's eyes on our planet, showed irregularities.