The Advanced Earth Observation Satellite JPSS-2 is scheduled to be launched on November 1.
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Weather permitting, a powerful weather satellite will be launched early Tuesday morning (November 1).
The Joint Polar Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2) satellite and its United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket have passed launch readiness checks, mission team members said Friday (opens in new tab). ).
With this milestone, the duo is scheduled to take off from Space Force Station Vandenberg, California on Tuesday at 5:25 am (EDT 0925 GMT, 2:25 am California time). Courtesy of ULA, you can watch the launch live on Space.com when the time comes.
That said, good weather is a must on Tuesday and does not guarantee the cool, foggy coast of central California. In fact, the latest forecast puts only a 40% chance of Mother Nature launching his JPSS-2 on Tuesday.
One of the main problems is thick clouds, which can act as a place for lightning to occur during launch.
“If there is an electric field in the clouds, there will be rocket-induced lightning,” said the captain. Zach Zornez, launch meteorologist for the U.S. Space Force, said at the JPSS-2 press conference on Friday afternoon: “It’s not as powerful as lightning, but adding a conductive object like a rocket to the electric field amplifies it.”
If JPSS-2 cannot fly on Tuesday, the next mission opportunity will be Wednesday (November 2nd). Zounes says he has a 60% chance of good weather on this reserve day.
JPSS-2 is his third satellite in the Joint Polar Satellite System, a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and his NASA. As the name suggests, these spacecraft orbit the Earth around the poles and help researchers understand Earth’s weather and climate.
JPSS-2 is equipped with five instruments that collect various data about the Earth. According to NASA and NOAA officials, the information will help scientists improve weather forecasts and help scientists understand and monitor the impacts of climate change.
You can read more about the JPSS-2 instrument and its capabilities in our science story.
Also on Tuesday, the Atlas V will host a technology demonstration called the Inflatable Reducer (LOFTID) Low Earth Orbit Flight Test. A LOFTID is an inflatable heat shield, a type of structure that researchers believe could help safely land very heavy payloads on Mars and other planets. LOFTID will take off from the Atlas V upper stage about 75 minutes after launch and yell back into Earth’s atmosphere to show scientists and engineers how this potential landing technology works in extreme environments.