Preparations are looking forward to the launch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Polar Satellite System 2 (JPSS-2) satellite. On behalf of NOAA, NASA develops and builds instruments, spacecraft, and the Earth system, and launches satellites operated by NOAA. Technicians recently lifted the satellite to a platform inside the Astrotech Space Operations facility at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. On board are four advanced instruments that will measure the weather and climate conditions on the ground. The launch is targeted for November 1 on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 401 rocket from Space Launch Complex-3.
Launching with the JPSS-2 is a secondary payload, known as the Low Earth Orbital Flight Test Inflatable Decelerator, or LOFTID. LOFTID will display its inflatable heat shield technology to enter and return to the atmosphere. The technology could enable a variety of proposed NASA missions to destinations such as Mars, Venus and Titan, as well as return heavier payloads from low Earth orbit.
Prior to launch, technicians will stack the JPSS-2 satellite onto a payload converter tray containing the LOFTID re-entry vehicle. Once completed, the assembly will be wrapped in a payload protection cover. After packaging, the team will transport the packed spacecraft to Space Launch Complex-3 where a crane will lift it to mount the second stage of the Atlas V 401 rocket.
JPSS-2 is the third satellite in the Joint Polar Satellite Systems series. JPSS-2, which will be renamed NOAA-21 after it reaches orbit, will join the constellation of JPSS satellites that orbit from the North Pole to the South Pole, orbiting the Earth 14 times a day and providing a full view of the globe twice daily. The NOAA/NASA Suomi National Polar-Orbating Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite, and NOAA-20, formerly known as JPSS-1, are both already in orbit.
NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, manages the Service launch. Live coverage of the launch will be broadcast on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
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