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New weather satellite will help with natural disasters, local forecasts

Boulder's Ball Aerospace, NOAA primed for polar-orbiting satellite launch has been seven years in the planning

The rocket will carry the Joint Polar Satellite System-1, the first of four advanced spacecraft for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The JPSS program is a partnership between NOAA and NASA that will oversee all the satellites in the series.

"The new JPSS satellite will join GOES-16 as we are confronting one of the most tragic hurricane seasons in the past decade", said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

JPSS-1 was set to launch into a polar orbit around Earth at 4:47 a.m. EST to join the current weather satellites and provide meteorologists with a variety of observations from space. "The Flight 2 development, build and test have proceeded smoothly and follow the success of the Flight 1 instrument for NPOESS Preparatory Project". As Mitch Goldberg, the chief program scientist for JPSS at NASA told Space.com, meteorological catastrophes like hurricanes tend to originate far away from the places they affect. JPSS-1 will allow researchers to monitor changes in the atmosphere in Africa that could cause a hurricane off the coast of Florida, for example. It was created to be the functional equivalent follow-on to the Advanced Microwave Sounder Units with improved sampling and coverage. JPSS will provide more detailed information about atmospheric temperature and air moisture leading to more accurate near-term weather predictions. Once it's operational, it will be renamed NOAA-20.

The JPSS-1 spacecraft was built by Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colo. The mission is a joint effort between NOAA and NASA.

NASA says the rocket had only a 66-second launch window. Instruments on board were designed by Ball, along with Raytheon, Harris and Northrop Grumman. Shortly after the postponement was revealed, Omar Baez Jr., a NASA senior launch director, confirmed that the plan was to retry the launch again at 1:47 a.m. Wednesday.

According to the NOAA press report, "JPSS-1, which will be known as NOAA-20 when it reaches polar orbit, will join the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP), a joint NOAA-NASA weather satellite, giving the US the benefit of two, sophisticated polar satellites in the same orbit".