Spaceflight Insider

NOAA’s JPSS-1 satellite launch delayed to July


An artist’s depiction of JPSS-1 in orbit above Earth. Image Credit: Ball Aerospace

The flight of the first Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) has been postponed to a date no earlier than July 2017. According to SpaceNews, the delay was because of technical issues.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spacecraft was originally scheduled for Jan. 20, 2017, before being delayed to March 2017 back in August 2016. Now, according to NOAA’s JPSS program website, liftoff is targeted for July.

The first delay was due to problems with an instrument on the spacecraft. Additionally, there were problems with the JPSS ground systems. The most recent delay was caused by similar problems.

“The main factors delaying the JPSS-1 launch are technical issues discovered during environmental testing of the satellite and the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) instrument,” said NOAA spokesperson John Leslie in a statement to SpaceNews.

The spacecraft is being built by Ball Aerospace. When all the problems are ironed out and JPSS-1 gets off the ground, it will be the first of the latest generation of U.S. polar-orbiting satellites. It will provide environmental data to be used in weather prediction models as well as for climate monitoring.

The JPSS satellites will orbit from pole to pole 14 times a day and provide higher spatial resolution images covering the entire planet two times each day. Each satellite will carry a Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), which can capture images of Earth even in the lowest moonlit conditions, according to NOAA. This can be used to help with the tracking of storms at all hours of the day as well as monitoring ship traffic.

However, the most important instrument for the JPSS constellation is ATMS and the Cross-track Infrared Sounder. Together, they will provide three-dimensional measurements of air temperature and moisture. This will help with accurate near-term weather predictions.

JPSS-1 will launch atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket from Space Launch Complex 2W (west) in Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The booster will fly in the 7920 configuration, which includes 9 solid rocket boosters and no third stage.

Video courtesy of Ball Aerospace



Derek Richardson has a degree in mass media, with an emphasis in contemporary journalism, from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also has a website about human spaceflight called Orbital Velocity. You can find him on twitter @TheSpaceWriter.

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