In Photos: The Advanced JPSS-1 Weather Satellite's Earth Mission

Next Step

Randy Beaudoin/NASA

United Launch Alliance's Delta II second stage hangs in the gantry at Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg AFB.

Joining the Pieces

Randy Beaudoin/NASA

The first and second stages of ULA's Delta II rocket are shown here ready to be mated at Vandenberg AFB's Space Launch Complex 2. The spacecraft is set to launch the JPSS-1, NOAA's next-gen environmental satellite system in 2017.

Blastoff Ready Rocket

Randy Beaudoin/NASA

ULA's Delta II rocket can be seen standing on Space Launch Complex 2 in preparation for the 2017 launch of NOAA's newest environmental satellite system.

Protecting the Goods

Billy Vinnedge/NASA

A collaborative project between NOAA and NASA, JPSS-1 is the first of four next-gen environmental satellites. JPSS-1 was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. Here, the satellite is encased in a protective container at the Astrotech Processing Facility at Vandenberg AFB.

Encased for the Journey

USAF 30th Space Wing/NASA

The payload fairing encompasses the JPSS-1 on top of the Delta II rocket in preparation for the planned Nov. 14, 2017 launch.

Hitching a Ride

USAF 30th Space Wing/NASA

A P-POD (Poly Picosatellite Orbital Deployer) container is attached to the JPSS-1 spacecraft. P-PODS are extra payloads, these containing CubeSats designed and built by students as part of NASA's Educational Launch of Nanosatellite missions.

Monitoring Rehearsal

Leif Heimbold/NASA

Managers and engineers from NASA, as well as contractors, track countdown rehearsal for the JPSS-1 launch.

Meet the Press

Kim Shiflett/NASA

NASA and industry leaders participated in a prelaunch press conference at Vandenberg AFB. Participants, from left, are Steve Volz, director of NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service, Greg Mandt, director of the NOAA Joint Polar Satellite System Program, Sandra Smalley, director of the Joint Agency Satellite Division at NASA Headquarters, Omar Baez, NASA launch director, and Scott Messer, United Launch Alliance program manager for NASA missions.

Time Grows Near

ULA/Jeff Spotts

As United Launch Alliance's Delta II rocket with the JPSS-1 safely aboard stands on the Space Launch Complex 2 launch pad, the Mobile Service Tower is rolled away.

Giving Space

ULA/Walter Scriptunas II

The Mobile Service Tower is removed in preparation for the Delta II rocket launch.

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Christine Lunsford
Producer and Contributing Writer

Christine Lunsford joined the team in 2010 as a freelance producer and later became a contributing writer, covering astrophotography images, astronomy photos and amazing space galleries and more. During her more than 10 years with, oversaw the site's monthly skywatching updates and produced overnight features and stories on the latest space discoveries. She enjoys learning about subjects of all kinds.