Is NPOESS (National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System) Preparatory Project (NPP) ready for launch? How do we find out?

What is NPOESS? The National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) was supposed to be the next generation satellite system for monitoring weather, atmosphere, oceans, land and near-space environment.  The first one, named “Charlie 1” (or “C1”) was scheduled to go up in 2013.NPOESS was to be operated by the NOAA / NESDIS / NPOESS […]
What is NPOESS?

The National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) was supposed to be the next generation satellite system for monitoring weather, atmosphere, oceans, land and near-space environment.  The first one, named “Charlie 1” (or “C1”) was scheduled to go up in 2013.NPOESS was to be operated by the NOAA / NESDIS / NPOESS Program Executive Office Flight Operations at the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility (NSOF) in Suitland, MD. Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems (NGAS) was the primary system integrator for the NPOESS project. Raytheon, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. and Boeing are developing the sensors.However, due to issues with sensor developments, multiple production delays and cost-overruns, the White House ordered the project to dissolve and split into two separate lines of polar-orbiting satellites to serve military and civilian users.

What is NPP?

NPP is the bridge between the original EOS missions and the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS). JPSS, previously called the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), will be developed by NASA for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

When is NPP is supposed to be launched?

NPP is scheduled to launch into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in southern California on October 25, 2011.

Is it ready to go?

It is, according to the number of tests that were performed (dynamic, electromagnetic compatibility, thermal vacuum, etc.) You can read more detailed information on the tests performed here.

What do you think?  Is NPP ready for launch in October?


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Vandenberg AFB Uses Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to Provide Base and Launch Security

Vandenberg continues to pave the way as the West Coast’s premiere space and missile establishment Vandenberg AFB is home to the 14th Air Force, 30th Space Wing, 381st Training Group, and the Western Launch and Test Range (WLTR).  A peninsula location on the Pacific Coast makes it ideal to easily launch satellites into polar orbit.  […]
Vandenberg continues to pave the way as the West Coast’s premiere space and missile establishment Vandenberg AFB is home to the 14th Air Force, 30th Space Wing, 381st Training Group, and the Western Launch and Test Range (WLTR).  A peninsula location on the Pacific Coast makes it ideal to easily launch satellites into polar orbit.  This, along with its location relative to the jet stream, makes Vandenberg a good site to launch reconnaissance satellites. Everyday thousands of Team Vandenberg members come together and work as a single force to further space power on California’s central coast.  Only one unauthorized person in a critical area during a launch window can shut the operation down.  Much of the base is rugged, mountainous, and undeveloped, so it can be difficult to patrol and monitor all areas of the base in the hours prior to a launch. Vandenberg is paving the way for other bases security requirements.  It has established an innovative program using a small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), called the Raven for base security.  The RQ-11 Raven weighs 4.5 pounds, has a five-foot wingspan and stretches only 38 inches in length.  It is equipped with a video camera which streams live feed to an operator on the ground.  The Raven is launched by hand, has about an hour of flight time on a single battery charge.  The system includes spare batteries and a charger that plugs into a Humvee. Recently, the Raven found three unofficial persons on Point Sal beach just prior to a launch, which could have caused a delay or stop the launch.  Day and night, live video capabilities let the Raven greatly assist with the overall situation awareness picture helping ensure mission success.  Based on this success, Vandenberg is interested in more unmanned aircraft than just the Raven. Vandenberg has requested that in early July, Mr. Mark N. Lewellen, one of Applied Technology Institute (ATI) instructors, teach ATI’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Applications course at Vandenberg AFB.  This one-day course is designed for engineers, aviation experts and project managers who wish to enhance their understanding of UAS. The course provides the “big picture” for those who work outside of the discipline.  Each topic addresses real systems (RQ-11 Raven, the RQ-7 Shadow, the MQ-1 Predator, and the RQ-4 Global Hawk) and real-world problems and issues concerning the use and expansion of their applications. Topics covered include: History of UAS Categories of current UAS and their aeronautical capabilities Major manufactures of UAS The latest developments and major components of a UAS What type of sensor data can UAS provide? Regulatory and spectrum issues associated with UAS National Airspace System including the different classes of airspace How will UAS gain access to the National Airspace System (NAS)?