NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2), the third in a series of five advanced polar-orbiting satellites, has been launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, at 01:49am PST today (Nov 10).
The satellite will join its predecessors, Suomi NPP and NOAA-20, as they circle the globe 14 times a day, and provide a continuous stream of data used for weather forecasting, including extreme events, and help track and monitor climate change.
Michael C. Morgan, assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction, said, “The need for advanced satellites, such as JPSS-2, to accurately predict weather and climate has never been greater. With the steady rise in the number of billion dollar disasters, NOAA remains committed to putting the best technology in space that leads to more reliable, timely forecasts.”
JPSS-2 will be renamed NOAA-21 when it reaches its final orbit, approximately one week after launch. In that orbit, the satellite will collect local observations of the mid-latitudes and tropics during the afternoon and overnight. About one month after launch, the satellite’s instruments will start collecting data. After rigorous tests to ensure the instruments are performing as intended, the data will then be released to the public and used in NOAA’s operational forecasts and warnings. JPSS-2 is designed to operate for seven years, with the potential to operate for several more.
Steve Volz, director of NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service, said, “NOAA is operating the most advanced fleet of weather satellites in the world. In conjunction with our international partner, EUMETSAT, which provides similar observations from the morning orbit, our polar satellites provide essential data for numerical weather models, producing forecasts daily.”
Together, NOAA’s newest polar-orbiting and geostationary satellites provide high quality data and imagery to help emergency managers better prepare for and respond to dangerous storms.
Ken Graham, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service, said, “Data from satellites like JPSS-2 are the foundation for our weather forecasts. The constellation of weather satellites provides essential support to National Weather Service forecasters, which in turn, allows the public to be better prepared and for emergency managers to preposition response assets to save lives.”
Launching with JPSS-2 — as a rideshare on the satellite — was NASA’s Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator (LOFTID) technology demonstration. After JPSS-2 safely reached orbit, LOFTID, which is a type of heat shield, began a demonstration of its ability to slow down and survive re-entry in the atmosphere.
Bob Cabana, NASA associate administrator, said, “NOAA is an important partner for NASA in providing essential data about climate change, weather prediction and environmental modeling for the benefit of citizens both in the US and around the world. Our Launch Services Program has successfully launched its 100th primary mission, and on this same flight, enabled us to test a new technology for atmospheric re-entry with the LOFTID demonstration.”