Nation’s Newest Environmental Satellite Successfully Launched

October 28, 2011

America’s newest polar-orbiting satellite roared into orbit this morning, setting the stage for enhanced weather data NOAA scientists will use to develop life-saving severe weather forecasts days in advance.

The NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) satellite is a NASA Earth-observing satellite and features five new instruments that will collect more detailed information about Earth’s atmosphere, land and oceans. NASA will use NPP as a research mission, while NOAA will use the data for short and long-term weather forecasting and environmental monitoring.

In 2011, data from polar-orbiting satellites like NPP allowed emergency managers and communities to prepare for severe weather events . Five days before a destructive and deadly tornado outbreak in Alabama and parts of the Southeast in April, NOAA forecasters were able to see the early atmospheric signs of the storm system developing and issue timely warnings.

NPP will orbit Earth every 102 minutes, flying 512 miles above the surface, monitoring atomospheric conditions below. The first of the NPP data will become available in about 90 days.

Source: NOAA

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