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Then its engine fired again for a 24-second engine restart.The second AJ10 engine firing placed the JPSS 1 spacecraft in its planned 500-mile-high nearly-circular orbit orbit, setting the stage for deployment of the satellite at T plus 57 minutes, 30 seconds.Suomi NPP was built as a demonstration for the new-generation NOAA weather satellites, but forecasters now rely on its measurements to fill a gap between the last of the previous line of polar-orbiting platforms, which launched in 2009, and JPSS 1.While JPSS 1 is the first in a new generation of weather satellites, its launch extends a line of meteorological spacecraft dating back to 1960.The Cube Sats range in scale from the size of a Rubik’s Cube to a toaster oven, and NASA paid for their launch on the Delta 2 rocket.The five Cube Sats launched Saturday included payloads developed by students and research institutions, along with an experimental nanosatellite from the Australian military.
JPSS 1 will be renamed NOAA 20 once it reaches its final orbit and becomes operational in approximately 90 days.Live video transmitted from the rocket showed the JPSS 1 satellite receding from the second stage after explosive bolts and springs engaged to push the craft away.Engineers with Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp., JPSS 1’s manufacturer in Boulder, Colorado, confirmed the satellite unfurled its power-producing solar array wing as scheduled a few minutes later.The vehicle was perfect, the spacecraft was perfect. Two launch attempts earlier in the week were scrubbed by boats that ventured into an offshore exclusion zone, a technical alarm on the rocket, and brisk westerly winds aloft that threatened to blow debris from the Delta 2 back over land.“It took a little bit longer than we thought, but we got it done,” Baez said. weather agency continues receiving measurements from polar orbit through 2038, officials said.
The main engine and six boosters combined to generate nearly 800,000 pounds of thrust at full power, sending the half-million-pound Delta 2 rocket faster than the speed of sound in 33 seconds as it quickly arced south from Vandenberg.