NOAA– The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, on 30th May, announced that its first next-generation polar-orbiting which is a weather satellite is now fully functional.

NOAA said that JPSS: Joint Polar Satellite System, a weather satellite was renamed to NOAA-20 after it was launched on 18th Nov. It has completed its six months of an on-orbit check. And so it is ready and fully operational now.

NOAA-20 is actually in the same orbit where the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite is there. Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite had been serving since 2014 as NOAA’s primary polar-orbiting weather satellite. Suomi was launched somewhere in late 2011. It continues to operate past its planned five year lifetime. With NOAA-20 entering into service it is expected that it may ends concerns related to a data gap.

NOAA-20 is a satellite with latest and best technology. Before this NOAA has never flown a satellite with such technology in such a famous orbit for capturing precise observations of the atmosphere, water, and land across the world. With this advanced technology and instruments, accuracy will be improved of  3 to 7 days.

With this improved weather forecasts we will be able to save more lives, property and can provide ample time to different business to protect themselves from several weather hazards, said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

Data collected from NOAA-20 is particularly beneficial for the Polar Regions, which cannot be observed from other satellite which is there in geostationary orbit at present. It is very helpful for tracking any storm which is likely to develop in the Arctic, Alaska, and Antarctica, said, Neil Jacobs.

Forecasts on these remote areas have become critical for U.S. fishing, energy, transportation, and recreation industries, which are operating in the harshest conditions on the planet.

Ball Aerospace built JPSS-1. But after that, all the satellites which were in series next to it were not created by Ball Aerospace. They were developed by Orbital ATK, and they were awarded this contract on March 15. The agreement covered JPSS-2 with other options for JPSS-3 and four as well. Though Ball protested the award to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the protest was denied in July’15.

On May 25 NASA announced that it was exercising the options for JPSS-3 and 4. However agency has not disclosed the total value of the options, it was stated that overall contract value including JPSS-2 which is under construction currently is nearby to $460 million.

Scheduled delivery of JPSS-3 is in 2023, and that of JPSS-4 is in 2026. However, these two won’t be launched immediately after their birth. NASA is anticipating launching JPSS-3 somewhere in 2026 and JPSS-4 in 2031. These dates are not confirmed and may change depending on the current status of satellites in orbit.