Rocket Arrives in California for NASA Launch of Polar-Orbiting Satellite

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V booster is offloaded from its water transport at Vandenberg Space Force Base (VSFB) in California on July 11, 2022, for NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Joint Polar Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2) satellite mission. (Credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin)

VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. (NOAA PR) — Flight hardware for the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 401 rocket slated to launch the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Joint Polar Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2) has arrived in California. The rocket’s boattail and interstage adapter arrived at Vandenberg Space Force Base July 28 for processing ahead of launch. The payload fairings arrived Aug. 8.

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JPSS-2 Weather Satellite Gets its Solar Array Installed

JPSS-2 solar panel deployment. (Credit: NOAA)

GILBERT, Ariz. (NOAA PR) — On July 26, in a clean room at the Northrop Grumman facility in Gilbert, Arizona, NOAA’s JPSS-2 satellite let out several loud pops as each of the five panels of its solar array detached from the body of the satellite and then unfolded, stretching out to its full 30-foot length. Under each panel, an engineer clad in a bunny suit flashed a thumbs up as latches clicked into place. 

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NOAA’s JPSS-2 Satellite Completes Critical Testing Milestone

JPSS-2 satellite enters thermal vacuum chamber for testing. (Credit: NOAA)

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — NOAA’s JPSS-2 satellite has cleared a critical testing milestone, bringing it a step closer to launch. Last week, the polar-orbiting satellite emerged from the chamber after completing its thermal vacuum testing. This test is meant to show that the spacecraft and all of its instruments will perform successfully when exposed to the harsh environments of space. 

“I can absolutely say with 100% certainty that the observatory is working great,” said JPSS Flight Project Manager Andre Dress. “All the instruments are performing great, and we’re going to meet all our requirements – and then some.”  

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NOAA’s JPSS-2 Mission Has New Launch Date

An illustration of the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS). JPSS is a collaborative program between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA. JPSS-2 is NOAA’s next-generation operational Earth observation program that acquires and distributes global environmental data primarily from multiple polar-orbiting satellites. (Credits: Orbital ATK/Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems)

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — NOAA and NASA are now targeting November 1, 2022 as the new launch date for NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2) mission. The launch was originally scheduled for September 30, 2022, however, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite instrument, or VIIRS, experienced a test equipment anomaly during thermal vacuum (TVAC) testing.  

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