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NOAA's next-generation weather satellite JPSS-1 set to launch Tuesday

14 November 2017, 03:58 | Kevin Scott

The most important weather satellite you've never heard of launches to space Tuesday

Boulder's Ball Aerospace, NOAA primed for polar-orbiting satellite launch has been seven years in the planning

A United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket carrying the Joint Polar Satellite System 1 weather satellite stands atop its launchpad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California after a rocket issue prevented a planned liftoff on November 14, 2017.

The Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) satellite, the first in a new series of four highly advanced National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) polar-orbiting satellites, is scheduled to launch on Tuesday.

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.

The five instrument suites on JPSS-1 are the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS), Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS), Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), and Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES).

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. "The JPSS satellite system will provide advanced forecasting on not only hurricanes, but also unsafe weather events threatening communities across the United States".

The JPSS program is a partnership between NOAA and NASA that will oversee all the satellites in the series. Harris Corporation built the Cross-track Infrared Sounder.

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JPSS will bring the latest and best technology NOAA has ever flown in a polar orbit to capture more precise observations of our atmosphere, land and waters.

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.

The launch will take place at 1:47 a.m. PST (4:47 a.m. EST) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County, California.

Fitted with nine strap-on solid rocket boosters made by Orbital ATK and a first stage RS-27A engine and second stage AJ10-118K engine, both from Aerojet Rocketdyne, the Delta 2 rocket is poised for its 154th mission Tuesday.

The Delta II stands 125-128 feet (38.2-39 meters) in height (depending on the fairing) and has a core diameter of about 8 feet (2.44 meters); it has a launch mass of approximately 152-232 metric tons.

The Delta II rocket's window to launch JPSS-1 into the correct orbit was just over a minute long. This rocket will be the penultimate Delta II with the final Delta II launch planned for the ICESat-2 in 2018.



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