NASA Launches ‘Joint Polar Satellite System’ To Improve Weather Forecasts

In an attempt to improve the accuracy of weather forecasts and Earth observations, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched on early Saturday (November 18) the first of four series of advanced polar-orbiting satellites to space.

Named as the new Joint Polar Satellite System-1 satellite or JPSS-1, the new satellite was successfully launched into space at 4:47 a.m. after two scrubbed launch attempts earlier the week.

The JPSS-1 is a brainchild of both the U.S. space agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). These two agencies give weather forecasts and reports.

In a written statement, NOAA National Weather Service director Louis W. Uccellini said emergency managers increasingly rely on NOAA’s forecasts in order to make critical decisions and take appropriate action before a storm hits.

Uccellini added that polar satellite observations do not only help them monitor and collect information about current weather systems but they also provide them data to feed into their weather forecast models.

NASA’s launch manager Omar Baez noted that things went absolutely perfect during the launch of the JPSS-1. He said that the country has yet again set up a wonderful asset up in the space.

According to a report by space.com, JPSS-1 will follow Suomi NPP’s path by chasing its precursor around in the same polar orbit. Director of the JPSS-1 Greg Mandt said this development is “huge” since it’s a part of a national polar orbiting weather satellite program. Mandt noted that JPSS-1 is of great importance since 85 percent of all the data from NOAA’s weather forecast models came from this series of weather satellite. He added that they are hoping to get good data from JPSS-1.

JPSS-1, as described by NOAA, is the first of four, next-generation operational environmental satellites that will represent major advancements in observation and monitoring of environment and weather prediction.

Meanwhile, NASA said that the satellite will orbit the Earth 14 times each day from one pole to the other at 512 miles or 824 kilometers above the planet. With this development, NASA said this will provide scientists full global coverage twice a day.

The importance of JPSS-1 is beyond compare especially now that the Earth is experiencing change in the climate which gives rise to extreme events such as hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural phenomena.

[Featured Image by Joel Kowsky/NASA/Getty Images]