Ball Aerospace Delivers The JPSS-1 Weather Satellite To Launch Site

Delivery truck carrying the NOAA JPSS-1 departing from Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colorado. Image Credit: Ball Aerospace

September 6, 2017 – Ball Aerospace successfully delivered the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1), NOAA’s next-generation polar orbiting weather satellite, to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on August 31. This follows a successful pre-ship review with NASA at Ball’s Boulder, Colorado, manufacturing complex.

“The arrival of the spacecraft at Vandenberg is a tremendous milestone for the program and the culmination of excellent collaboration and hard work by the JPSS-1 team – NOAA, NASA, Ball, Harris, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman,” said Rob Strain, president, Ball Aerospace. “This advanced weather satellite will play a significant role in providing actionable environmental intelligence to decision makers in government and business, and to the general public.”

After its arrival, the JPSS-1 spacecraft was pulled from its shipping container, and is being prepared for encapsulation on top of the rocket that will take it to its polar orbit at an altitude of 512 miles (824 km) above Earth. JPSS-1 is scheduled to be launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on November 10, 2017, at 2:47 a.m., MST.

JPSS-1, which will be known as NOAA-20 after it reaches orbit, has a seven-year design life. NOAA partnered with NASA to implement the JPSS series of U.S. civilian polar-orbiting environmental remote sensing satellites and sensors. JPSS-1 is the first in a series of NOAA’s four next-generation, polar-orbiting weather satellites.

JPSS data increases the timeliness and accuracy of numerical forecast models three to seven days in advance of severe weather events. These forecasts allow for early warnings and enable agency managers to make informed decisions to protect American lives and property.

The JPSS-1 satellite will host a suite of state-of-the-art instruments: Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS – Northrop Grumman), Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS – Harris), Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS – Raytheon), Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS – Ball), and Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES – Northrop Grumman).

Ball designed and built the JPSS-1 spacecraft, the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite-Nadir instrument (OMPS), integrated all five of the satellite’s instruments, and is performing satellite-level testing and launch support.

Following launch, JPSS-1 will join the Ball-built NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite which has served as NOAA’s primary operational satellite for global weather observations since May 2014. JPSS-1 will orbit in the same plane as Suomi NPP, with JPSS-1 operating about 50 minutes ahead of Suomi NPP, allowing important overlap in observational coverage. It takes about 14 passes for each satellite in this orbit to cover Earth’s surface.

The JPSS missions are funded by NOAA to provide global environmental data in low-Earth polar orbit. NASA is the acquisition agent for the flight systems, launch services and components of the ground segment.

To see how JPSS-1 traveled from Colorado to California, visit NOAA’s photo essay.