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.
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.