Delta II rocket launches carrying NASA and NOAA satellites, sensors

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket carrying the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) for NASA and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) lifted off on November 18 from Vandenburg AFB's Space Launch Complex-2.

The JPSS program provides a next-generation polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite system, delivering key observations for essential NASA and NOAA projects and services, including forecasting weather in advance and assessing environmental hazards.

The recently launched mission also carries five miniaturized CubeSat -- launched from dispensers mounted to the Delta II second stage -- which will conduct research in 3D-printed polymers for in-space manufacturing, weather data collection, bit-flip memory testing, calibration, and the effects of space radiation on electronic components.

The JPSS-1 satellite joins its predecessor, the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite, in circling the Earth pole to pole 14 times a day, providing full global coverage and sending data to the U.S. weather forecast models; these models are the basis for the nation's meteorologists' three- to seven-day forecasts.

Svalbard, Norway is home to part of a global network of receiving stations that process and distribute polar satellite data to users worldwide. Photo taken at Kongsberg Satellite Services Plateau, October 11, 2017. Photo courtesy Reuben Wu/Raytheon.

Topics covered in this article