Latest satellite launch will help improve NOAA’s weather forecasting ability

By: - November 10, 2022 4:21 pm

NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2), the third in a series of five advanced polar-orbiting satellites, blasted off Thursday.(Provided by NOAA.)

Weather forecasters job is about to get easier.

Early Thursday morning, the National  Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, launched a state-of-the-art polar-orbiting satellite that is designed to provide more comprehensive, real-time data to weather forecasters who monitor the earth’s atmosphere and predict upcoming events like storms.

The NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2), the third in a series of five advanced satellites, blasted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, at 1:49 a.m., PST Thursday, NOAA announced in a news release.

The satellite will join its predecessors, Suomi NPP and NOAA-20, as they circle the globe 14 times a day, and provide a continuous stream of data used for weather forecasting, including extreme — potentially deadly — events, and will help track and monitor climate change, NOAA said.

 “The need for advanced satellites, such as JPSS-2, to accurately predict weather and climate has never been greater,” said Michael Morgan, assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction, in a statement. “With the steady rise in the number of billion dollar disasters, NOAA remains committed to putting the best technology in space that leads to more reliable, timely forecasts.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a mission to understand and predict the changing environment, from the deep sea to outer space, and to manage and conserve America’s coastal and marine resources.

The news release said JPSS-2 will be renamed NOAA-21 when it reaches its final “afternoon” orbit, approximately one week after launch. About one month after launch, the satellite’s instruments will start collecting data. After rigorous tests to ensure the instruments are performing as intended, the data will then be released to the public and used in NOAA’s operational forecasts and warnings. JPSS-2 is designed to operate for seven years, with the potential to operate for several more.

“NOAA is operating the most advanced fleet of weather satellites in the world,” said Steve Volz, director of NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service, in a statement.

Together, NOAA’s newest polar-orbiting and geostationary satellites provide high quality data and imagery to help emergency managers better prepare for and respond to dangerous storms, NOAA said.

“Data from satellites like JPSS-2 are the foundation for our weather forecasts,” said Ken Graham, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service.

Launching with JPSS-2 — as a rideshare on the satellite — was NASA’s Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator (LOFTID) technology demonstration. After JPSS-2 safely reached orbit, LOFTID, which is a type of heat shield, began a demonstration of its ability to slow down and survive re-entry in the atmosphere.

“NOAA is an important partner for NASA in providing essential data about climate change, weather prediction and environmental modeling for the benefit of citizens both in the U.S. and around the world,” said NASA Associate Administrator Bob Cabana. “Our Launch Services Program has successfully launched its 100th primary mission, and on this same flight, enabled us to test a new technology for atmospheric re-entry with the LOFTID demonstration.”

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