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Published: Mon, November 20, 2017
Research | By Jennifer Evans

Polar-orbiting satellite launched successfully

Polar-orbiting satellite launched successfully

An advanced USA weather satellite created to improve the accuracy of extended forecasts has been launched into polar orbit from California. While GOES satellites remain stationary over a fixed point of the earth's surface at roughly 22,500 miles, the Joint Polar Satellite System will orbit the earth from the North Pole to the South Pole 14 times per day, at 512 miles above the earth. JPSS-1 data will improve weather forecasting and help agencies involved with post-storm recovery by visualizing storm damage and the geographic extent of power outages.

It's the first in a series of four next-generation USA weather satellites.

Spacecraft separation was not planned until approximately an hour after liftoff. Once it has completed its three-month testing and calibration phase and been put into active service, JPSS-1 will be rechristened NOAA-20. "The scientific community is finding ways to take the data and get more information out of it every week", says Mark Sargent, Raytheon's JPSS Programs director.

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Once operational, the NOAA-20 will make weather predictions to be more accurate and extend timeliness of forecasts by three to seven days. "Such forecasts are impossible without quality robust global data that's provided from polar satellites, and JPSS-1 is joining that network of satellites that provides these observations that are the backbone of forecast process".

ULA's next launch is the NROL-47 for the National Reconnaissance Office. The new satellite has similar instruments and the same orbit as a satellite launched in 2011 known SUOMI NPP. The launch was previously scrubbed twice this week, once because of high winds and once because of both a technical problem reported with the rocket and because of boats too close to a hazard zone around the rocket.

Along with the main JPSS-1 satellite, four smaller, CubeSats were also launched. Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems built the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder and the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System instrument.

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