After several postponements, NASA is preparing to launch in the night of Friday to Saturday a new generation weather satellite that will allow a sharp improvement in forecasts up to seven days and observation of the environment.
The launch of the satellite, the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS), a joint project of NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is scheduled for Saturday at 1:47 local (09:47 GMT) aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta 2 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The JPSS, the first in a planned series of four satellites, represents significant technological and scientific breakthroughs, says NOAA.
The satellite will increase the period for which the weather forecast will be very reliable from three to seven days.
Once in polar orbit at an altitude of 824 kilometers, the five instruments will make observations with an unprecedented degree of definition of the atmosphere, land and oceans.
“These instruments are so accurate that they can measure temperatures with a margin of error of only one-tenth of a degree in the entire atmosphere from the surface of the planet to the boundary of space”. Greg Mandt, JPSS Program Director at NOAA.
The data collected continuously by the sensors will be integrated into weather forecast models in near real time.
The observations made by the satellite will also help predict and better study major weather events such as hurricanes which will better prepare the concerned populations, according to NOAA.
One of the instruments will be able to monitor the state of the ozone layer and the intensity of ultraviolet radiation that is at risk of skin cancer.
Another instrument will have the ability to determine the location of forest fires and to track down smoke while another sensor will measure the carbon monoxide and methane emissions produced by these fires which will help to know where the quality of the fire is. the air can be affected.