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

Polar satellites like the JPSS-1, which orbit the globe from pole-to-pole 14 times a day, are considered the backbone of the global observing system.

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.

"Just at the time we were expected to come out of hold at T-4 minutes, there were a couple of positions that reported that they were no-go, and with the very short launch window that we have this morning, there was not enough time to completely work the issues and clear them", NASA spokesperson Mike Curie said at about 4:43 a.m. EDT (0943 GMT) during live commentary. Several duplicate satellites are in the pipeline in the decades ahead, he said. Once it's operational, it will be renamed NOAA-20.

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. "JPSS will continue this trend". JPSS will provide more detailed information about atmospheric temperature and air moisture leading to more accurate near-term weather predictions.

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Ball also built one of the five instruments on the spacecraft, the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite.

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. This interagency effort (JPSS) is the latest generation of US polar-orbiting, non-geosynchronous environmental satellites. Instruments on board were designed by Ball, along with Raytheon, Harris and Northrop Grumman.

The JPSS-1 satellite is scheduled to launch on November 10 at 1:47 a.m. PST from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

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