Rocket Issue Delays Launch of Advanced New JPSS-1 Weather Satellite

Boulder's Ball Aerospace, NOAA primed for polar-orbiting satellite launch has been seven years in the planning

The most important weather satellite you've never heard of launches to space Tuesday

But a bad reading on the first stage of satellite's United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, as well as boats in the safety zone, forced NASA to call off the launch just minutes before liftoff.

The satellite, a collaboration between NASA and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is meant to relay information back to earth with weather forecasts.

"The successful contract transition is an important milestone for the Joint Polar Satellite Systems, since ATMS is one of its key operational weather sensors", said Dr. Steve Toner, vice president of Northrop Grumman's Overhead Persistent Infrared and Azusa Programs business unit.

With JPSS-1, the threat of a "satellite gap" due to aging satellite fleet should be allayed.

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The JPSS-1 spacecraft was built by Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colo.

"We're pretty excited about the launch", said Joe Pica, director of the weather service's office of operations, who added the spacecraft is created to last about seven years.

The United Launch Alliance rocket was slated to lift off from the base at 1:47 a.m.

"There was some discussion, short, brief discussions, but with our short window there wasn't enough time to outbrief that issue and come to resolution", NASA launch manager Omar Baez said in the Space.com report. It will be mounted atop the first stage of the rocket, seen on the left, as preparations continue for the launch of the Joint Polar Satellite System-1, or JPSS-1.

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A Delta II rocket launch that was scheduled for early Tuesday morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base was scrubbed at the last minute and postponed for at least 24 hours. The mission is a joint effort between NOAA and NASA.

The JPSS program is a partnership between NOAA and NASA that will oversee all the satellites in the series.

NASA-TV will cover the launch live and can be viewed at www.nasa.gov/ntv, starting at 1:15 a.m. PST on November 10.

This illustration depicts the Joint Polar Satellite System-1, or JPSS-1, spacecraft created to provide forecasters with crucial environmental science data to provide a better understanding of changes in the Earth's weather, oceans and climate.

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