This day in space (November 18, 2017): The NOAA-20 satellite was launched into polar orbit

On this day, back in 2017, the NOAA’s JPSS-1 satellite was launched into orbit onboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket. Once the satellite reached polar orbit, its official name was changed to NOAA-20 in order to maintain the NOAA’s consistent naming conventions.

Once operational, its main objective was to provide sophisticated meteorological data and observations of the atmosphere, land, and ocean. This data would then be used to provide seasonal monitoring and forecasting of weather.

NOAA-20 gathered this data while orbiting the Earth 14 times per day, providing full global coverage twice daily. Instruments for doing so consisted of an Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder, Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy Systems, Cross-track Infrared Sounder, Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite, and Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite.

The data captured by NOAA-20’s complex instruments could also be used for a handful of other applications. These include vegetation health, sea surface temperatures, snow cover and depth, and volcanic ash detection. All of these uses and many more make NOAA-20 an invaluable piece of hardware.

The NOAA-20 satellite is designed to operate for seven years but could remain operational for even longer. That means that the satellite has at least four more years left providing valuable data.

You can take take a look at the launch of NOAA-20 in the video below.

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