NASA weather satellite to be launched from Vandenberg
NASA's newest high-powered weather satellite, set to keep an eye on long-term climate change and short-term weather conditions, is poised to be launched atop a 13-story rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base.
The $1.5-billion satellite is slated to blast off aboard a Delta II rocket at 2:47 a.m. PDT on Friday from Space Launch Complex-2 at the base, located northwest of Santa Barbara.
According to NASA, the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System, or NPOESS Preparatory Project, is a crucial first step in building the next-generation weather system.
The satellite, built by Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp., is armed with new state-of-the-art sensors that will probe everything from the ozone layer and land cover, to atmospheric temperatures and ice cover. Obtaining this information is crucial to understanding global change, NASA said.
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-- W.J. Hennigan
Photo: The NPP satellite being lowered into the thermal vacuum chamber. Credit: Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp.