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NOAA to launch polar-orbiting satellite

The USA’s National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is set to launch the first in a series of four polar-orbiting weather satellites, JPSS-1, on November 10.

The Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) satellites will serve as the backbone of NOAA’s weather forecasting system for the next 20 years, providing global observations to support more accurate numerical weather forecasts up to seven days in advance.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, said, “Hurricane Harvey is a stark reminder of the importance of the NOAA satellite program. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families affected by this disaster.”

JPSS-1 was originally set to be launched in March this year, but technical issues meant the satellite’s launch date was postponed. NOAA said that the extra time had allowed engineers to complete the testing of the spacecraft and the instrumentation on board.

They have also been able to finish work on the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder, one of the primary instruments on JPSS. The satellite carries five instruments [LINK:], which will provide a comprehensive suite of earth observations.

Stephen Volz, director of NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service, said, “The JPSS-1 team has done an incredible job getting this extremely capable satellite prepared for launch and ready to send back quality environmental data soon after it is in orbit.”

The satellite arrived in California just before the Labor Day weekend, for final preparations before its launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket. When it reaches orbit, JPSS-1 will be renamed NOAA-20.

14 times a day

Following launch, JPSS-1 will join Suomi NPP, the joint NOAA-NASA weather satellite, in circling the Earth 14 times a day, providing full, global observations for US weather prediction.

Suomi NPP, which was initially planned as a research and risk reduction mission when it launched on October 28, 2011, became NOAA’s primary operational satellite for global weather observations in 2014.

Ball Aerospace designed and built the JPSS-1 satellite bus and Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite instrument, integrated all five of the spacecraft’s instruments, and performed satellite-level testing and launch support. Raytheon Corporation built the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite and built the common ground system. Harris Corporation built the Cross-track Infrared Sounder. Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems built the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder and the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System instrument.

- September 2017

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