After over a decade of service, the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-12), operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is going offline. First launched in 2001, NOAA says the GOES-12 has seen everything "from Hurricane Katrina that hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, to the Christmas blizzard that crippled the Central United States in 2009."
Although the satellite's career was only supposed to last five years, it ended up going the full 10, providing views from last year's Hurricane Sandy.
What exactly happens when a satellite is decommissioned? NOAA explains:
"When NOAA decommissions a geostationary satellite like GOES-12, it is boosted further into orbit, the remaining fuel is expended, the battery is disabled and the transmitters are turned off. These maneuvers reduce the chances the satellite will collide with other operational spacecraft. Additionally, decommissioning lowers the risk of orbital debris and stops the satellite from transmitting any signals that could interfere with any current or future spacecraft."
Below is a timelapse of 3,641 images sped up into video that shows just how beautiful Earth's weather from space can be.