Technical troubles scrubbed Tuesday's planned Delta II rocket launch of a new-generation of weather satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base minutes before blastoff.
The first in a series of new satellites is set to be sent toward orbit on Tuesday morning, eventually circling the Earth pole-to-pole 14 times each day from 512 miles above the surface. After it successfully clears the on-orbit test phase, NOAA-20 will become the nation's primary polar weather satellite and Suomi NPP will become its back up.
The satellites will help improve NOAA forecasts for the three- to seven-day time frame. 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 data collected from the JPSS is fed into the numerical forecast models to help improve them.
For years, policy makers and scientists anxious about a looming polar-orbiting satellite gap that could come once one satellite blinked out from old age, prior to the next one launching. JPSS will provide more detailed information about atmospheric temperature and air moisture leading to more accurate near-term weather predictions.
The JPSS-1 satellite is scheduled to launch on November 10 at 1:47 a.m. PST from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
The JPSS-1 spacecraft was built by Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colo. Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems built the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder and the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System instrument. Once it's operational, it will be renamed NOAA-20.
Assuming that JPSS-1 launches successfully on Tuesday and functions normally in orbit, the USA will again have two working polar satellites at work at the same time.