NASA Launches Multi-Talented Earth-Observing Satellite

News Agencies    30-Oct-2011

Washington, October 30 : NASA's newest Earth-observing satellite soared into space early on Friday  aboard a Delta II rocket after liftoff at 5:48 a.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

NASA's National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project, (NPP), successfully separated from the Delta II 58 minutes after launch, and the first signal was acquired by the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. NPP's solar array deployed 67 minutes after launch to provide the satellite with electrical power. NPP is on course to reach its sun-synchronous polar orbit 512 miles (824 km) above Earth.

NPP carries five science instruments, including four new state-of-the-art sensors, which will provide critical data to help scientists understand the dynamics of long-term climate patterns and help meteorologists improve short-term weather forecasts including measurements of the ozone layer, land cover, and ice cover.

NPP serves as a bridge mission between NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) of satellites and the next-generation Joint Polar Satellite System.NPP will allow scientists to extend the continuous satellite record needed to detect and quantify global environmental changes.NPP data will be transmitted once every orbit to a ground station in Svalbard, Norway, and to direct broadcast receivers around the world.