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Satellite Failure Mars Tracking Of Hurricane Mitch
Reuters, October 28, 1998

The National Hurricane Center Tuesday lost its prime means of monitoring Hurricane Mitch, forcing the U.S. government to use another satellite to track the ferocious storm as it threatened Central America, officials said. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. government agency that operates the GOES-8 satellite that watches Atlantic hurricanes, was uncertain why it tilted away from Earth. Nor did the agency know when it might return to service.

The $220 million GOES-8, made by Space Systems/Loral, a Palo Alto, California subsidiary of Loral Space & Communications Ltd, monitors Earth's atmosphere over the Atlantic and Caribbean and is usually pointed at the center of the planet. But it suddenly tilted away from its usual position at about 3 a.m. EST (0800 GMT).