Friday, October 28, 2011

Delta II Successfully Orbits Weather Satellite

OShare photos on twitter with TwitpicOn its final flight Delta II has successfully orbited the NPP weather satellite from Vandenberg AFB.

The launch occurred at 02:48 am PDT and could be seen from hundreds of miles away.  (I know this because I saw it from 200 miles to the north)

For this launch Delta II was in it's 7920 configuration, which includes 9 strap-on GEM (Graphite Epoxy Motor) solid boosters, 6 of which are started at liftoff and 3 air started. 

The National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project (NPP) weather satellite. NPP is the first satellite designed to collect critical data to improve weather forecasts in the short-term and increase understanding of long-term climate change.

NPP is an effort led by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center that is carrying the first of the new sensors that will be utilized as part of that next-generation system called the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS). The mission will continue critical weather and climate measurements by flying advanced sensor packages. NPP will measure various properties of the Earth's atmosphere, land surface and oceans. Its five-year mission life will help to bridge critical weather data collection before JPSS is ready for operations in 2016.