Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

NASA postpones JPSS-1 weather satellite launch

Powerful weather satellite will improve forecasting Delta II rocket launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base postponed at last minute, rescheduled for Wednesday
Bennie Garza | 14 November, 2017, 13:48

This next-generation weather satellite - known as Joint Polar Satellite System-1 - promises "a leap in data collection and quality equivalent to going from an old flip-phone to an iPhone X", said meteorologist Ryan Maue of weather.us, a meteorological firm.

After billions of dollars in cost overruns and delays, NASA is planning to launch one of the most important weather satellites ever early Tuesday morning.

The JPSS-1 is the first in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) next-generation of four polar-orbiting satellites that provide the majority of data streamed into weather forecasting models.

"We're pretty excited about the launch", said Joe Pica, director of the weather service's office of operations, who added the spacecraft is created to last about seven years.

The satellites will help improve NOAA forecasts for the three- to seven-day time frame. 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.

With JPSS-1, the threat of a "satellite gap" due to aging satellite fleet should be allayed.

Scott Asbury, program director at Ball Aerospace and formerly the JPSS-1 program manager, is among the roughly 10 Ball personnel who will be at the launch site, while about another 10 from Ball plan to be at the NASA satellite operations facility in Suitland, Md. "We have luckily avoided any gaps". JPSS will provide more detailed information about atmospheric temperature and air moisture leading to more accurate near-term weather predictions. Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems built the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder and the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System instrument.

Its launch, aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II from Space Launch Complex-2W at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., is set for 2:47 a.m. MST Tuesday.

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