NOAA: Operational control of newest US environmental satellite

Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite
Credits: NOAA

NOAA assumed full operational responsibility of the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite which was operated by the NASA since October, 2011. Suomi NPP is equipped with new, sophisticated Earth-observing instruments that NOAA is using to support improved medium-to-long range weather forecasts. Suomi NPP observes any given point on the Earth’s surface twice a day — once in daylight and once at night. The data is also available to users around the world via direct broadcast. Polar-orbiting, environmental satellites are critical to providing advanced warning for severe weather including tornado outbreaks, heavy snowfall, hurricanes, heat waves, floods, and wildfires.

Suomi NPP was launched on October 28, 2011. In March 2012, Suomi NPP was commissioned and operations were transferred from the NASA Suomi NPP project to the NASA/NOAA JPSS program. Since that time, the Suomi NPP flight and ground teams at the JPSS program have worked to ensure the spacecraft, instruments and data products were operating successfully. NOAA began using data from one of the Suomi NPP instruments – the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder -- on May 22, 2012, seven months after launch, nearly three times faster than previous missions.