NASA launching JPSS-1 weather satellite

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The CrIS instrument is the first in a series of newly advanced sounders that will make more detailed, accurate records of atmospheric temperature and moisture levels, which should allow for superior weather forecasting models. The first ATMS was completed in 2005 and has been integrated on the NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) satellite, which is scheduled to launch in October.

This next-generation weather satellite - known as Joint Polar Satellite System-1 - promises "a leap in data collection and quality equivalent to going from an old flip-phone to an iPhone X", said meteorologist Ryan Maue of weather.us, a meteorological firm.

Suomi NPP and JPSS-1 will have the same orbit, with JPSS-1 following Suomi NPP by about 50 minutes. "The rocket is in a safe condition, the spacecraft, JPSS-1, is in a safe condition".

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"Our experience in creating the ATMS engineering development unit and delivering the NPOESS Preparatory Project flight unit showed our capability to support the customer", said Steve Opel, ATMS program manager at Northrop Grumman. JPSS is a collaborative program between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its acquisition agent, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Please visit www.northropgrumman.com for more information.

Assuming that JPSS-1 launches successfully on Tuesday and functions normally in orbit, the US will again have two working polar satellites at work at the same time.

With JPSS-1, the threat of a "satellite gap" due to aging satellite fleet should be allayed. Over longer timescales, this data will help improve our understanding of climate patterns that influence the weather, such as El Nino and La Nina.

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The ATMS is the next generation of cross-track sounders that will provide a wealth of data and global observational information of the Earth's surface and atmosphere using microwaves. It will also provide critical information on Earth's hydrologic cycle - the circular process of water vapor, clouds, and precipitation.

NASA says the rocket had only a 66-second launch window.

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.

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The launch of the Delta II rocket was scrubbed four minutes ahead of its scheduled liftoff at 1:47 a.m. One more Delta 2 launch is planned in late 2018 before ULA retires the workhorse rocket.

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