Joint Polar Satellite System-1 Preparing For Launch

The United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket stands on Space Launch Complex 2. Image credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin

September 22, 2017 – The first satellite in NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System is at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California preparing for its upcoming liftoff aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket. Launch is slated for November 10, at 2:47 a.m. MST.

Ball Aerospace shipped the JPSS-1 satellite from Boulder, Colorado, to Vandenberg, where it arrived September 1. It’s now at the Astrotech Processing Facility at Vandenberg, where it’s undergoing final steps toward encapsulation in its protective payload fairing.

The Delta II rocket is in place at Space Launch Complex-2, awaiting the arrival of the fairing at the launch site.

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.

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.