On November 18, the USA launched the first of its new generation of advanced polar-orbiting meteorological satellites, Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS-1), which became known as NOAA-20 once it reached orbit.
The new satellite is the first in a series of missions over the next two decades contributing to the space-based component of the WMO (World Meteorological Organization) Integrated Global Observing System (WIGOS).
NOAA-20 will circle the globe 14 times each day in a polar orbit, meaning its sensors will view almost every point on Earth twice each day. This will enable the satellite to provide a wide range of information about atmospheric temperatures, humidity fields and the nature and distribution of clouds – essential data for numerical weather prediction models.
NOAA-20 will also provide space weather observations, search and rescue detection capabilities, and direct read-out and data-collection products and services. The data collected by NOAA-20 will be distributed freely around the world.
Lars Peter Riishojgaard, WIGOS project manager at WMO, said, “We in WMO often hold up NOAA’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) satellite systems as a model to follow. Free and open access to observational data is what will ultimately let us do the best we can in terms of saving lives, minimizing property damage and helping all nations prosper from improved weather and climate services.”
The JPSS fleet will eventually include five satellites, each carrying five state-of-the-art instruments, including the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS), the Cross-Track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) and an instrument to measure the Earth’s energy budget.
NOAA-20 was launched by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and will be operated by NOAA. - November 2017