A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket carrying the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) for NASA and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-2 on Nov. 18 at 1:47 a.m. PST. The JPSS program provides the nation’s next generation polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite system, delivering key observations for the nation’s essential projects and services, including forecasting weather in advance and assessing environmental hazards.
“It has been an honor to partner with our teammates at NASA and NOAA in launching this critical earth observation mission,” said Laura Maginnis, ULA vice president of Government Satellite Launch. “Together, we were able to overcome multiple challenges in the last two weeks, culminating in the successful delivery of JPSS to orbit today.”
In addition to JPSS-1, this mission includes five CubeSats which launched from dispensers mounted to the Delta II second stage. The miniaturized satellites will conduct research in 3D-printed polymers for in-space manufacturing, weather data collection, bit flip memory testing, radar calibration and the effects of space radiation on electronic components.
This mission was launched aboard a Delta II 7920-10 configuration rocket which includes a 10-ft diameter Payload Fairing (PLF). The booster for this mission was powered by the RS-27A engine and the second stage was powered by the AJ10-118K engine. This is ULA’s 8th launch in 2017 and the 123rd successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006. This is the penultimate launch of the Delta II rocket, first launching in 1989 with 154 launches to date. The final Delta II mission is scheduled for 2018 and will put ICEsat-2 in orbit for NASA.
“The Delta II rocket has truly created a legacy throughout its history, and has proven to be an industry workhorse,” said Maginnis. “After almost 3 years since our last Delta II mission, it was great to see it flying and delivering mission success for our customers once again.”
ULA's next launch is the NROL-47 for the National Reconnaissance Office. The launch is scheduled for Dec. 13 from Space Launch Complex-6 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 120 satellites to orbit that aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, provide critical capabilities for troops in the field and enable personal device-based GPS navigation.