The satellite, called JPSS-1, will provide meteorologists with a variety of observations, such as atmospheric temperature and moisture, sea-surface temperature, ocean color, sea ice cover, volcanic ash and fire detection. "This transition of the second flight unit to the Joint Polar Satellite Systems not only capitalizes fully on that previous experience, but also demonstrates our commitment to developing a long-term partnership with both NASA and NOAA on this program".
Ground crews at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California retracted a mobile gantry away from the Delta 2 rocket Monday afternoon, revealing the 128-foot-tall (39-meter) booster on its launch pad awaiting liftoff with a new polar-orbiting weather observatory.
In its orbit, the satellite will pass over the equator about 14 times per day, and cover the globe twice every 24 hours. According to the National Weather Service, 85% of the data flowing into their weather forecast models come from polar-orbiting satellites like the one that will launch Tuesday. Instruments aboard polar-orbiting satellites, like ones aboard JPSS-1 and its preceding spacecraft, known as the Suomi-NPP, obtain data on the winds and moisture in the upper atmosphere. After it successfully clears the on-orbit test phase, NOAA-20 will become the nation's primary polar weather satellite and Suomi NPP will become its back up. JPSS-1 is the newest and most advanced weather satellite to date using numerous same instruments on the Suomi NPP satellite launched on October 28, 2011.
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.
Assuming that JPSS-1 launches successfully on Tuesday and functions normally in orbit, the USA will again have two working polar satellites at work at the same time. It will be mounted atop the first stage of the rocket, seen on the left, as preparations continue for the launch of the Joint Polar Satellite System-1, or JPSS-1.
The launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta II carrying the JPSS-1 mission for NASA and NOAA was scrubbed today due to a red range and a late launch vehicle alarm.
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