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

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

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

The Joint Polar Satellite System-1, or JPSS-1, satellite - which will be invaluable for improving forecasting, detecting lost sailors, aiding firefighters, and other applications - is expected to blast off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 1:47 a.m. PT, or 4:47 a.m. ET, aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket.

JPSS-1's instruments will analyze the full spectrum of reflected sunlight and thermal energy from the Earth to track and monitor various aspects of the weather and climate - including water vapor, ozone, clouds, rainfall, snow and ice cover, and temperatures of the ocean and land surfaces as well as the atmosphere.

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The Joint Polar Satellite System-1, or JPSS-1, spacecraft is checked out on October 8, 2015, at Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colorado. Each will circle the globe 14 times a day, 50 minutes apart and provide full, global observations for US weather prediction. According to the National Weather Service, 85% of the data flowing into their weather forecast models come from polar-orbiting satellites like the one that will launch Tuesday. JPSS-1 is the newest and most advanced weather satellite to date using numerous same instruments on the Suomi NPP satellite launched on October 28, 2011. Once it's operational, it will be renamed NOAA-20.

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

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"The launch of JPSS-1 continues the strong, decades-long partnership between NOAA and NASA in developing state-of-the-art Earth observation satellites", said Sandra Smalley, director of NASA's Joint Agency Satellite Division. NASA develops and builds the instruments, spacecraft and ground system and launches the satellites for NOAA. 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. Instruments on board were designed by Ball, along with Raytheon, Harris and Northrop Grumman.

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 Flight 2 development, build and test have proceeded smoothly and follow the success of the Flight 1 instrument for NPOESS Preparatory Project".

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