NASA postpones JPSS-1 weather satellite launch

Sergio Conner
November 14, 2017

The first in a series of four planned satellites in the nation's newest generation of polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite system, JPSS-1 had originally been slated for launch on Friday, but was rescheduled to take off on Tuesday to address a battery issue on the lift rocket's flight termination system. Forecasters will be able to use the data to better predict weather events and hazards, such as a hurricane's track, and when a hurricane will intensify or weaken, as well as identifying power outages in addition to locating and evaluating damage following a storm.

The satellites will help improve NOAA forecasts for the three- to seven-day time frame. Full coverage of the planet will be provided then twice a day.

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. The data collected from the JPSS is fed into the numerical forecast models to help improve them.

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Several instruments aboard the satellite will provide detailed observations of temperature, air moisture, ice, snow, fog, wildfires, precipitation and ozone around the world. This satellite, which will be called NOAA-20 when it's in orbit, will observe more than just clouds.

The JPSS-1 spacecraft was built by Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colo.

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. Instruments on board were designed by Ball, along with Raytheon, Harris and Northrop Grumman. JPSS-1, which will be known as NOAA-20 when it reaches orbit, will join Suomi NPP, the joint NOAA-NASA weather satellite, giving the USA the benefit of two, sophisticated polar satellites in the same orbit.

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