Published: Sun, November 19, 2017
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Delta II Rocket Blasts Off From Vandenberg AFB For Weather Satellite Mission

Delta II Rocket Blasts Off From Vandenberg AFB For Weather Satellite Mission

A Delta II rocket at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Saturday morning launched a new era for collecting environmental data with an aim toward improving accuracy and timeliness for weather forecasts. The satellite "is the first in NOAA's series of four, next-generation operational environmental satellites representing major advancements in observations used for severe weather prediction and environmental monitoring", it said.

This video shows the JPSS 1 spacecraft separating from the Delta rocket's second stage as seen from a camera on-board the rocket downlinked through a ground station in South Africa.

"Emergency managers increasingly rely on our forecasts to make critical decisions and take appropriate action before a storm hits", NOAA National Weather Service director Louis W. Uccellini wrote in the statement.

JPSS-1 will collect assorted data such as atmospheric observations of temperatures and water vapor information expected to help improve weather forecasts out to seven days, according to Mitch Goldberg, chief JPSS program scientist for NOAA.

One of JPSS-1's instruments, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite, or VIIRS, has ties to Santa Barbara County and Raytheon's operations in Goleta.

"It has been an honor to partner with our teammates at NASA and NOAA in launching this critical earth observation mission", said Laura Maginnis, ULA vice president of Government Satellite Launch.

The launch was rescheduled for November 14 but scrubbed just a few minutes before scheduled liftoff due to technical issues.

The rocket also carried five "CubeSats" which will conduct research related to in-space manufacturing.

"The Delta II rocket has truly created a legacy throughout its history, and has proven to be an industry workhorse", said Maginnis.

A live stream of the launch will be available on the United Launch Alliance website starting at 1:15 a.m.

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