The NOAA-B environmental monitoring satellite, launched from the Western Space and Missile Center in California on May 29, is expected to remain in orbit only about 6 months. Difficulties, developed during the launch, caused the satellite to go into a highly elliptical rather than a planned circular orbit of 470 miles. During the launch one booster engine in the Atlas-F launch vehicle developed only 75% thrust.
Attempts by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to correct the orbit were unsuccessful. In its elliptical orbit, the spacecraft cannot operate effectively.
A replacement satellite, NOAA-C, will be launched in about 5 months