NASA Launches Advanced Climate Satellite - InformationWeek

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NASA Launches Advanced Climate Satellite

NPP satellite will contribute to 30 existing datasets on the Earth's environment and improve short-term weather forecasting.

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NASA launched a sophisticated new satellite Friday that will extend more than 30 long-term datasets of climate and meteorological activities on Earth and mark a transition to next-generation study of Earth's environment.

NASA's National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project (NPP) blasted off early Friday morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The satellite will eventually settle into orbit 512 miles above Earth.

Among the five science instruments onboard the craft are four state-of-the-art sensors that will collect data aimed at helping scientists understand long-term climate patterns, according to NASA.

The data also will help meteorologists improve short-term weather forecasts and extend NASA datasets that are collecting information about several of Earth's environmental factors, such as the ozone layer and land and ice cover of the Earth.

Sensors aboard NPP will transmit data to a ground station in Svalbard, Norway, once every time the satellite orbits Earth.

[Data transmitted from satellites may not be secure. Learn more: Chinese Military Blamed For Hacking U.S. Satellites.]

That data then will be sent to the United States via fiber optic cable to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) facility in Suitland, Md., that will operate the mission after its first three months. During this initial period, NASA will operate NPP to check out the satellite and its instruments.

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., is handling the overall management of the NPP mission for the Earth science division of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters in Washington.

"NPP is critical to our understanding of Earth's processes and changes," said NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver in a press statement. "Its impact will be global and builds on 40 years of work to understand our complex planet from space."

The project also serves as a segueway into the next-generation Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS), a program by NOAA that also will collect weather and climate data. JPSS extends the work of NASA's Earth observing system (EOS) satellites.

NASA scientists will use NPP data to extend and improve EOS data records, which include significant information about the Earth's climate and weather systems, including data about clouds, oceans, vegetation, and atmosphere.

The next-generation satellites will take this work a step further and record information to detect and quantify global changes to the climate and environment, according to NASA.

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User Rank: Apprentice
10/31/2011 | 9:57:00 AM
re: NASA Launches Advanced Climate Satellite
The NPP is expected to soon reach its sun-synchronized polar orbit 512 miles above Earth.
User Rank: Apprentice
10/28/2011 | 8:45:14 PM
re: NASA Launches Advanced Climate Satellite
Scientists love to collect information, whether useful or not. And as some people have pointed out, why not share the stuff? It couldn't possibly hurt anyone.
Starlight Engram
Starlight Engram,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/28/2011 | 8:23:17 PM
re: NASA Launches Advanced Climate Satellite
Geosynchronous satellites represent a decentralized mass of earth. Altogether they form a new gravitational region which pulls away from the earth's atmosphere, and changes equilibria of settling elevations in solar laminae. The latter was claimed to stimulate increased solar flares and other solar activities which may impact earth in various ways. The ozone layer of the earth's atmosphere would have low adhesion and weak gravitational force to adhere in an already heat-swollen atmosphere. This distension raises it to the far edge of gravitational reach. A satellite could, in theory at least, pull it off. Nowadays, there are a lot of irons in the fire.
User Rank: Apprentice
10/28/2011 | 7:33:54 PM
re: NASA Launches Advanced Climate Satellite
This satellite has an obvious secondary and secret purpose - to monitor results from HAARP tests in the magnetosphere. As if any idiot couldn't figure that one out.
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