Wednesday, October 26, 2011
NASA's NPP Sateliite to Launch Friday, Oct. 28, 2011 from Vandenberg, California
The launch of the NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) satellite aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 28, 2011. Liftoff from NASA's Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), Calif., is targeted during a nine-minute ten second launch window that opens at 2:48:01 a.m. PDT (5:48:01 a.m. EDT). The spacecraft's final circular polar orbit will be 512 miles (824 kilometers) at an inclination of 98 degrees.
NPP, a NASA Earth-observing satellite, represents a critical first step in building the next-generation of U.S. polar-orbiting climate and weather monitoring spacecraft. NPP is the bridge between NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) satellites and the forthcoming series of Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) satellites. The mission will test key technologies and instruments for the JPSS missions.
The second of NASA's Educational Launch of Nanosatellite, or ELaNa, missions also will be launched on the Delta II. These auxiliary payloads are small satellites called CubeSats. Each is designed and created by university and college students. Five satellites will be deployed on ELaNa-2.