by Staff Writers
Vandenberg AFB CA (SPX) Oct 28, 2011
NASA's NPP satellite built by Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. was successfully launched into a sun-synchronous polar orbit this morning at 2:48 PDT (5:48 EDT).
NASA's first Earth-observing satellite to measure both global climate and key weather data lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base aboard a Delta II rocket.
NPP's five science instruments will make critical measurements to provide long-term climate projections and data to improve short-term weather forecasts.
Ball Aerospace built the BCP 2000 satellite bus for Goddard Space Flight Center under fixed-price terms.
Ball also built one of the five sensors aboard NPP - the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite - an instrument that will measure how much ozone is in our atmosphere and how the ozone concentration varies with altitude.
"We are confident NASA's long-standing Earth-observation records will dramatically improve with the successful launch of NPP," said David L. Taylor, president and CEO of Ball Aerospace.
"The NPP mission will bridge critical data while Ball Aerospace builds the first next-generation polar-orbiting satellite - JPSS-1."
JPSS-1 is the Joint Polar-Orbiting Satellite System scheduled to launch no earlier than 2017.
JPSS data and imagery will further increase timeliness, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness of public warnings and forecasts of climate and weather events.
NPP has a five-year mission life and a seven-year design life. The spacecraft bus is the eighth spacecraft built by Ball Aerospace on the same BCP core architecture. In all, this architecture has more than 50 years of successful on-orbit operations.
Additionally, the NPP spacecraft incorporates both MIL-STD-1553 and IEEE 1394 (FireWire) data networks to support the payload suite.
Raytheon Technology Orbited on Next-Gen Weather Satellite System
NPP is a polar-orbiting satellite that will function as a bridge between the current NASA Earth Observing System (EOS) and a new constellation of weather monitoring spacecraft known as the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS).
NOAA weather satellites are the backbone of life-saving weather forecasts and advance hazardous outlooks relied upon by individuals, businesses, emergency responders and the military every day.
This year alone there have been 10 disasters surpassing $1 billion each, which has made the demand for advanced weather data even greater.
Further, because of demographic trends and population growth, the United States may be even more vulnerable to extreme weather events in the future. Raytheon provides the technology, from space to ground, to support NOAA's important weather mission.
At the heart of JPSS is an advanced weather and climate monitoring instrument responsible for nearly two-thirds of the spacecraft's data collection requirements.
The Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) is the primary instrument responsible for global imagery, land and sea surface temperature monitoring, cloud characterization and other key environmental data.
On the ground, a new Common Ground System built by Raytheon will feature a flexible design to manage nearly a terabyte of information daily to support enhanced environmental data records designed to meet NOAA's and the U.S. Air Force Weather Agency's critical weather forecasting responsibilities.
Supported by Raytheon technology in space and on the ground, JPSS will provide important advancements in weather forecasting, including:
+ Better image resolution for greater detail across images;
+ Improved nighttime monitoring of weather conditions;
+ Faster data delivery to U.S. weather stations (by up to 75 percent); and
+ Ability to handle 100 times the data of the current system, for more accurate weather and climate modeling.
Ball Aerospace and Technologies
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