Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Rocket Issue Delays Launch of Advanced New JPSS-1 Weather Satellite

Rocket Issue Delays Launch of Advanced New JPSS-1 Weather Satellite

The five next-generation instruments on JPSS will be a major upgrade from NOAA's legacy polar-orbiting satellites. The first ATMS was completed in 2005 and has been integrated on the NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) satellite, which is scheduled to launch in October.

"Eighty-five percent of the data flowing into our weather forecast models come from polar-orbiting satellites, such as Suomi NPP and the new JPSS series", Louis W. Uccellini, director of the National Weather Service, said in a statement.

Satellites like JPSS-1 are not responsible for the images typically shown on your nightly weather forecast or your phone's weather app, since most weather imagery comes from geostationary satellites, which orbit above a fixed point on the planet.

JPSS-1, which will be known as NOAA-20 when it reaches polar orbit, will join the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP), a joint NOAA-NASA weather satellite, giving the USA the benefit of two, sophisticated polar satellites in the same orbit. Please visit for more information. "For the better part of a decade, scientists and policymakers have been very concerned about a gap in polar-orbiting satellite coverage of the Earth due to delays in launching JPSS-1 and the obvious aging or potential failure of older birds in orbit", according to Maue. 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. Over longer timescales, this data will help improve our understanding of climate patterns that influence the weather, such as El Nino and La Nina.

The JPSS-1 spacecraft was built by Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colo. It will also provide critical information on Earth's hydrologic cycle - the circular process of water vapor, clouds, and precipitation.

A press release from Vandenberg Air Force Base says the planned launch was scrubbed early Tuesday because of an unspecified issue and managers didn't have enough time to resolve it.

The VIIRS takes global visible and infrared observational data of both the surface of the land, sea, and atmosphere at extremely high temporal resolution parameters.

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.

The Delta II will be in the "7920" configuration: "7" denotes the 7000 series, utilizing an RS-27A engine in the first stage; "9" is the number of solid rocket (GEM-40) boosters; "2" denotes the second stage with an AJ10 engine; "0" denotes no third stage.

The Delta II rocket has been the workhorse of ULA since it was first launched in February 1989.

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