The nation's newest weather satellite, launched less than three months ago, has a serious cooling problem.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration revealed the trouble Wednesday.
The premier instrument on the GOES-17 satellite was designed to take images of hurricanes, wildfires, volcanic eruptions and other natural calamities. NOAA officials say it is not providing proper cooling for its infrared sensor.
Experts are scrambling to understand what went wrong and how to fix it. Officials expect it will take at least a few months to figure out.
An identical imager on the GOES-16 satellite, launched in 2016, has been operating perfectly. So have similar imagers on a pair of Japanese weather satellites.
NOAA stresses that three other GOES satellites in orbit are healthy and meeting forecasting needs.