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High Winds Delay Launch of Advanced Weather Satellite JPSS-1

Delta II and JPSS-1 See a Launchpad Sunrise
A United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket carrying the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 weather satellite stands atop Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. An attempted launch on Nov. 15, 2017 was delayed by high winds. (Image credit: ULA/Walter Scriptunas II)

An advanced new weather satellite will now launch into space no earlier than Thursday (Nov. 16) after unacceptably high winds prevented an early-morning liftoff from California today.

The satellite, called the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1), was scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket at 4:47 a.m. EST (0947 GMT), but high upper-level winds and a range safety issue delayed the liftoff, ULA officials said. The mission will now launch Thursday at the same time: 4:47 a.m. EST. At attempted launch on Tuesday (Nov. 14) was delayed by a technical issue and boats in the launch range's offshore restriction area. 

The JPSS-1 mission will map Earth's global weather like never before for NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It is the first of a four-spacecraft fleet of next-generation weather satellites that will circle the Earth in a polar orbit to increase the accuracy of today's weather forecasts.

JPSS-1 will circle the Earth 14 times each day in an orbit 512 miles (824 kilometers) above the planet.

An artist's illustration of the JPSS-1 weather satellite in orbit. (Image credit: Ball Aerospace)

The JPSS-1 mission also marks one of the last-ever launches of a ULA Delta II rocket. The rocket will launch five small cubesats (including one that will use microwaves to track Earth's weather) into orbit along with the JPSS-1 satellite during Thursday's flight.

Only one more Delta II rocket mission remains after this launch, ULA representatives have said.

NASA will webcast the JPSS-1 satellite launch on Thursday, beginning at 4:15 a.m. EST (0915 GMT). You can watch the launch live here, courtesy of NASA TV. 

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001 as a staff writer, and later editor, covering human spaceflight, exploration and space science. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter.