NOAA is operating NOAA-12, launched in May NOAA-K was successfully launched on 13 May, 1991 and NOAA-14, launched in December 1994. and all deployments were confirmed 30 minutes after the launch. NOAA-K, a joint project of NOAA-K, renamed NOAA-15 in orbit, replaced NOAA and NASA, was launched from NOAA-12, which will be deactivated. Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, into a near- NOAA and NASA work together to develop and polar orbit 516 miles above the earth on a U.S. Air launch NOAA's environmental satellites. NASA's Force Titan II rocket. It will circle the earth every Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Mary- 102 minutes, passing over the North and South land, is responsible for the construction, integra- Poles on each orbit. tion, and verification testing of the satellite, instru- NOAA-K is the first in a series of five satellites ments, and ground equipment. NASA arranges with improved imaging and sounding capabilities launch of the satellites with the U.S. Air Force. Following the launch, NASA turns operational con- that will operate over the next 12 years. Like other trol of the satellite over to NOAA after a compre- NOAA satellites, NOAA-K will collect meteoro- hensive on-orbit verification period, which is ex- logical data and transmit the information to users around the world to enhance weather and climate pected to last about 60 days. forecasting. In the United States, the data will be used NOAA operates the satellites from the Satellite primarily by the National Weather Service for its Operations Control Center of the National Environ- operational long-range weather and climate forecasts. mental Satellite, Data, and Information Service in The design of the satellite will enable it to "scan" Suitland, Maryland. the earth and provide continuous global images of Information on the polar satellites is available on cloud cover; surface parameters such as snow, ice, the World Wide Web at http://poes2.gsfc.nasa.gov and vegetation; atmospheric temperatures, mois- and at http://www2.ncdc.noaa.gov/docs/intro.htm. ture, and aerosol distributions; and collect and re- K 4 lay information from data platforms. "With NOAA-K, we will get better measure- ments of atmospheric temperature and moisture r \ values," said Mike Mignogno, NOAA's polar pro- gram manager. "These translate into better information, particu- 3n jt/lemxmam larly in the troposphere under cloudy conditions. The result will be accurate, global, tropospheric tem- perature and moisture data under all sky conditions." 3f taA "The improved cloud, snow cover, and sea sur- face temperature data means improved forecasts of 1914-1996 potential flooding and drought conditions," said Ronald McPherson, director of NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction, one of the . i/tc&aleA primary users of the polar satellite data. "The ob- servations will also enhance the National Weather 1919-1998 Service's ability to forecast storms such as those we have experienced during the major El Nino event, as well as the El Nino itself." NOAA-K carries search and rescue instruments that are used internationally in locating ships and 1915-1998 aircraft in distress. The use of satellites in search and rescue has been instrumental in saving more than 7000 lives since the inception of the Search . Uxydon and Rescue Satellite-aided Tracking (SARSAT) system. 1916-1998, NOAA operates two polar-orbiting and two geo- stationary environmental satellites. Currently, 1128 Vol. 79, No. 6, June 1998
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society – American Meteorological Society
Published: Jun 1, 1998
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