A satellite that will scan Earth 14 times a day to collect data on pending climate change

The Joint Polar Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2) satellite jointly developed by NASA and the US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been delayed. The satellite, which aims to collect data to strengthen weather forecasts and study climate change, will launch on November 1.

The mission was delayed after NASA discovered and fixed a problem with the satellite’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIRS) instrument during thermal vacuum testing. The instrument was designed to collect visible and infrared images and a technical glitch required more time for testing, forcing NASA to delay the launch.

“The engineers determined that the problem was the result of movement of the test equipment caused by temperature fluctuations during the test. After modifying the test settings, the team retested the system, and it demonstrated excellent performance,” NASA said in a statement.

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The Joint Polar Satellite System-2 is an in-network satellite, scheduled to take off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, on an Atlas V United Launch Alliance (ULA) rocket. After orbit, the satellite will be renamed NOAA-21 and will continue the work of its predecessors, NOAA-20 (formerly JPSS-1) and the NOAA-NASA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi-NPP).

A team is working on the Low Earth Orbit Flight Test of the Inflatable Decelerator (LOFTID), dedicated to the memory of Bernard Kutter, which will be launched as a secondary payload. (Photo: NASA)

The satellite will scan the globe as it orbits from the North Pole to the South, crossing the equator 14 times a day. NASA says that from 512 miles above Earth, the mission will capture data that informs weather forecasts, extreme weather events, and climate change. VIIRS collects imagery for global observations of the land, atmosphere, cryosphere, and oceans.

Once operational, the satellite will try to find answers to the two big questions that scientists from around the world ponder.

* How is the global Earth system changing?
* What are the main forces of the Earth system?

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The satellite will carry a suite of instruments including the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS), Cross-Track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) to measure Earth’s energy budget.

NASA said that unexpectedly, the JPSS satellites also play an important role in detecting and monitoring environmental hazards, such as droughts, forest fires, poor air quality and hazardous coastal waters.

“Launching as a secondary payload to JPSS-2 was the Low Earth Orbit Flight Test of the Inflatable Decelerator (LOFTID), dedicated to the memory of Bernard Kutter. LOFTID is a demonstration of a hypersonic inflatable aerodynamic decelerator, or aeroshell, technology that could one day help land humans on Earth. Mars,” NASA said in a statement.

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