The first spacecraft in the nation's next generation of polar-orbiting satellites is set for launch in the pre-dawn hours Tuesday, and the mission has strong Boulder ties.
The JPSS-1 is the first in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) next-generation of four polar-orbiting satellites that provide the majority of data streamed into weather forecasting models.
The new satellite will be the most advanced polar-orbiting weather platform the US has yet put to use, NOAA officials said, since it will carry upgraded instruments able to gather more weather information than ever before. 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.
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The satellites will help improve NOAA forecasts for the three- to seven-day time frame. This satellite, which will be called NOAA-20 when it's in orbit, will observe more than just clouds. "JPSS will continue this trend", he added. "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. This would avoid a dreaded gap that could have adversely affected weather forecast accuracy in the U.S. JPSS will provide more detailed information about atmospheric temperature and air moisture leading to more accurate near-term weather predictions.
Ball Aerospace designed and built the JPSS-1 satellite bus, and Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite instrument, integrated all five of the spacecraft's instruments and performed satellite-level testing and launch support.
The JPSS-1 was scheduled to be launched around 4:47 a.m. EST from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California. Once it's operational, it will be renamed NOAA-20.
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