US: The first of NOAA’s new generation of polar orbiting weather satellites, JPSS-1, is now scheduled for launch on November 10, 2017 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA. The launch has been delayed several times and most recently had been scheduled for this month.
The Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) is the successor to the ill-fated NOAA-DOD-NASA National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) program. The original cost for the program was $12.9 billion, of which approximately $4 billion was NOAA’s sunk costs in NPOESS.
The delay for JPSS-1 from September to November was explained in a NOAA press release as providing extra time for engineers to complete testing of the spacecraft and electronics as well as the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS), one of the five instruments on JPSS-1.
ATMS and the Cloud and Earth Radiant Energy System (CERES) instruments were built by Northrop Grumman. Harris built the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS). Raytheon built the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) and the common ground system. Ball Aerospace designed and built the spacecraft as well as the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS). NASA serves as the acquisition agent for all NOAA spacecraft and launches.
NOAA operates complementary constellations of weather satellites in polar orbits that circle the poles, providing data about the entire globe, and geostationary orbits above the equator that provide detailed coverage of tropical regions where hurricanes form. NOAA also recently launched the first of its newest generation of geostationary weather satellites, GOES-R, which after launch was renamed as GOES-16.