The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced on May 30 that as the government wants to procure additional satellites, the organization’s first polar-orbiting weather satellite is now completely operational. 

NOAA who is renamed as NOAA-20 after its first launch on November 18, revealed that the first Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS), which is a weather satellite had completed six months of on-off orbit checkout and is now successfully operational. 

NOAA-20 is equipped with a suite of multiple and advanced instruments which will provide improved observations of weather conditions. It will also help in increasing the accuracy of up to three to seven day forecasts. 

Now the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite, which had been serving as the NOAA’s primary polar-orbiting weather satellite and NOAA-20 is now in the same orbit. Suomi was initially launched in 2011 end, and will now continue to work even after the planned five-year lifetime. 

The date received from NOAA-20 is highly crucial for the Polar Regions since satellites in geostationary orbit are not that efficient in collecting the information for that region. NOAA-20 is especially valuable for tracing emerging storms in the Alaska, Arctic, and Antarctica said, Neil Jacobs. He serves as an assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction. 

Forecasts for these regions are vital for the United States fishing, transportation, energy and recreation industries that operate even when the worst climatic conditions occur on the planet. Though Ball Aerospace originally built the JPSS-1, the satellites in the similar series will be designed by Orbital ATK under the contract they won in March 2015. The contract included JPSS-2, JPSS-3 as well as 4. Ball Aerospace was against the award and even approached the U.S. Government Accountability Office, whose request was got denied in July 2015. 

NASA announced on May 25 that it is exercising the options for JPSS-3 and JPSS-4. Though the agency didn’t reveal the value of the options, it disclosed that after including the value of JPSS-2, the overall contract value was $460 million.  

According to the Vice President of science and environmental satellite programs, Orbital ATK is making significant progress on JPSS-2 and the team is now all set to start working on the additional JPSS satellites that include JPSS-3 and JPSS-4. The testing and integration on JPSS-2 are expected to begin this summer, with its delivery planned for 2021. The delivery date of JPSS-3 is scheduled in 2023, whereas it is 2026 for JPSS-4.