New Polar Satellite System To Bring More Accurate Weather Forecasts

Violet Powell
November 15, 2017

The rocket will carry the Joint Polar Satellite System-1, the first of four advanced spacecraft for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "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".

ATMS will provide critical microwave data, including atmospheric temperature and moisture profiles, to support weather forecasting for the operational JPSS system.

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 new JPSS satellite will join GOES-16 as we are confronting one of the most tragic hurricane seasons in the past decade", said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

The Delta II rocket's window to launch JPSS-1 into the correct orbit was just over a minute long.

"There was some discussion, short, brief discussions, but with our short window there wasn't enough time to outbrief that issue and come to resolution", NASA launch manager Omar Baez said in the Space.com report.

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"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", said Louis W. Uccellini, Ph.D., director of NOAA's National Weather Service.

The ATMS instrument is the second flight model and is slated to fly on the first JPSS satellite in 2016.

The mission is scheduled to begin at 4:47 a.m. EST (1:47 a.m. PST), Nov. 10, 2017, with JPSS-1 atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket lifting off from Space Launch Complex 2 (SLC-2) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The launch has been tentatively postponed 24 hours and is now set to liftoff at 1:47 a.m. Wednesday.

Assuming that JPSS-1 launches successfully on Tuesday and functions normally in orbit, the USA will again have two working polar satellites at work at the same time.

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