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

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 rocket is in a safe condition, the spacecraft, JPSS-1, is in a safe condition". "This transition of the second flight unit to the Joint Polar Satellite Systems not only capitalizes fully on that previous experience, but also demonstrates our commitment to developing a long-term partnership with both NASA and NOAA on this program".

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. Each will circle the globe 14 times a day, 50 minutes apart and provide full, global observations for US weather prediction.

For years, policy makers and scientists anxious about a looming polar-orbiting satellite gap that could come once one satellite blinked out from old age, prior to the next one launching.

"Using polar satellite data, we have been able to provide emergency managers with more accurate forecasts, allowing them to pre-position equipment and resources days before a storm", said Louis Uccellini, director of the weather service. The mission is a joint effort between NOAA and NASA.

The launch of the Delta II rocket was scrubbed four minutes ahead of its scheduled liftoff at 1:47 a.m. JPSS 1 will go into orbit around 500 miles (800 kilometers) high and use five instruments to measure temperature and humidity in the atmosphere, solar radiation reflected off the Earth, ozone health, and other key data to aid weather forecasters. It will be mounted atop the first stage of the rocket, seen on the left, as preparations continue for the launch of the Joint Polar Satellite System-1, or JPSS-1.

Assuming that JPSS-1 launches successfully on Tuesday and functions normally in orbit, the US will again have two working polar satellites at work at the same time. Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems built the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder and the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System instrument.

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.

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