A next-generation satellite built to make global weather forecasts more accurate than ever will now launch into space no earlier than Saturday (Nov. 18) after two delays earlier this week, NASA officials said.
The satellite, called the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1), is scheduled to lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California Saturday at 4:47 a.m. EST (0947 GMT) atop a Delta II rocket, NASA officials said in an update. You can watch the launch live here, courtesy of NASA TV, beginning at 4:15 a.m. EST (0915 GMT).
Initial attempts to launch JPSS-1 on Tuesday and Wednesday (Nov. 14 and 15) were delayed, first by a rocket issue and boats inside the restricted safety zone for the mission; and later due to unacceptably high winds and another launch range concern.
The $1.6 billion JPSS-1 mission is the first in a new fleet of four advanced satellites designed to track Earth's weather like never before for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA.
"JPSS represents significant technological and scientific advancements in observations used for severe weather prediction and environmental monitoring," NASA officials said in a statement. "The JPSS system will help increase weather forecast accuracy from three to seven days."
The satellite will circle the Earth in a polar orbit at an altitude of 512 miles (824 kilometers), completing 14 orbits of the planet each day.