The Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (NPP) is part of NOAA’s next generation Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) constellation of polar-orbiting environmental satellites. Suomi NPP provides continuity for NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS) and is a bridge between NOAA’s legacy Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellites (POES) and the JPSS-1 satellite, which is now being built and integrated at Ball’s spacecraft manufacturing facility.
The National Weather Service uses Suomi NPP global measurements in its numerical weather prediction models. Its advanced imagery of clouds, ocean surface, land features and other physical parameters is used by civilian and DoD forecasters.
Suomi NPP’s precise observations of the physical environment are improving the accuracy and extending the range of global forecasts three to seven days in advance of significant weather events, including hurricanes and winter storms.
In May 2014, NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service named Suomi NPP as its primary operational polar-orbiting satellite system for NOAA’s day-to-day operations.
Role of the Suomi NPP mission
NPP will monitor the health of the Earth from space. It will be the first satellite to acquire a wide range of land, ocean and atmospheric measurements while also addressing the nation’s weather forecasting needs.
Ball Aerospace designed and built the Suomi NPP satellite bus, the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) instrument, integrating all instruments, and performing satellite-level testing and launch support.
Suomi NPP was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on October 28, 2011 and has since logged more than 12,000 orbits. Its sensors have surpassed expectations for low noise and accuracy, and have provided useful data to forecasters beginning well before it gained operational status. Suomi NPP data, in conjunction with other polar weather satellite data, were essential to predicting the path of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy more than four days in advance.
The Suomi NPP spacecraft was built on a fixed-price contract with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
Suomi NPP carries five instruments, including:
- The Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS)
- The Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS)
- The Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS)
- The Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS)
- The Clouds and the Earth Radiant Energy System (CERES)