Spaceflight Insider

JPSS-2 satellite design review completed in leadup to launch

JPSS-2 in orbit above Earth Orbital ATK image posted on SpaceFlight Insider

An artist’s depiction of JPSS-2 in orbit above Earth. Image Credit: Orbital ATK

Orbital ATK engineers working on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) second Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS-2) have wrapped up the spacecraft Preliminary Design Review (PDR). The roughly four-day long PDR ran from Aug. 29 until Sept. 1 at the company’s facility located in Gilbert, Arizona.

Also encompassing JPSS-3 and -4, follow-on satellites designed for a polar orbit, the PDR included representatives from NASA, NOAA, satellite instrument providers as well as independent reviewers.

“Our JPSS spacecraft Preliminary Design Review successfully demonstrated that we are meeting all system and schedule requirements,” said Steve Krein, vice president of science and environmental programs at Orbital ATK. “Our customers are pleased with the spacecraft’s design progress, which allows us to proceed with detailed design and long-lead build schedules in preparation for the Spacecraft Critical Design Review for the JPSS-2 satellite.”

JPSS-2 will be built on Orbital ATK’s LEOStar-3 platform, hosting instruments to provide space-based weather observations for  NOAA.

Ball Aerospace of Bolder, Colorado, is the contractor for the JPSS-1 spacecraft, which is expected to launch in the first half of 2017 atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket – the penultimate flight of the booster variant.

JPSS-2 – with the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (launched in 2011) and JPSS-1 satellites – will collect measurements of atmospheric, ground and ocean conditions around the world to provide accurate forecasting up to seven days prior to severe weather. Additionally, the spacecraft’s data will be used to assess sea ice, floods, volcanic ash, wild fires and poor air quality. The satellite is expected to have a design life of seven years.

This is the first weather satellite Orbital ATK will design and produce. Over the years, the company has built Earth science, commercial imaging and defense satellites.

Orbital ATK is now proceeding ahead with the spacecraft’s Critical Design Review, which is anticipated to occur during the second quarter of 2017. Once the vehicle is built, it will be shipped to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. There, the company will support the launch as well as early on-orbit checkouts of the satellite. In July of 2020, using either an Atlas V, Falcon 9 or Delta IV, the JPSS-2 is expected to be sent into a Sun-synchronous polar orbit.




Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology,, The Mars Society and Universe Today.

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