New weather satellite scheduled to be launched on Tuesday

Boulder's Ball Aerospace, NOAA primed for polar-orbiting satellite launch has been seven years in the planning

JPSS-1 is the first of a few polar orbiting satellites to launch from the Joint Polar Satellite System.

The National Weather Service anticipates being able to take advantage of these measurements to improve its forecasts, particularly for high-impact weather events, such as hurricanes and winter storms.

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. Full coverage of the planet will be provided then twice a day.

The satellites will help improve NOAA forecasts for the three- to seven-day time frame.

Maue said that without data from polar satellites, "weather forecasts would noticeably suffer leading to more forecast busts, wayward hurricane tracks and more difficulty in preparing for severe weather". "JPSS will continue this trend".

Several instruments aboard the satellite will provide detailed observations of temperature, air moisture, ice, snow, fog, wildfires, precipitation and ozone around the world. According to the National Weather Service, 85% of the data flowing into their weather forecast models come from polar-orbiting satellites like the one that will launch Tuesday.

The Joint Polar Satellite System-1, or JPSS-1, satellite - which will be invaluable for improving forecasting, detecting lost sailors, aiding firefighters, and other applications - is expected to blast off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 1:47 a.m. PT, or 4:47 a.m. ET, aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket. Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems built the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder and the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System instrument.

Scott Asbury, program director at Ball Aerospace and formerly the JPSS-1 program manager, is among the roughly 10 Ball personnel who will be at the launch site, while about another 10 from Ball plan to be at the NASA satellite operations facility in Suitland, Md.

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