NOAA Launches New Weather Satellite


Contributed by: NOAA on 2/11/2009

A new NOAA polar-orbiting environmental satellite was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California today and is now circling the globe every 102 minutes taking images and measurements to support NOAA’s efforts to forecast and monitor the environment. NOAA-19 joins NOAA-18 and one European environmental satellite already in polar orbit.

NOAA-19 carries seven scientific instruments, including two search and rescue instruments and a data recording system. Unique with this satellite is a new data collection system that will relay meteorological, oceanographic data - even track migration patterns of wildlife - to help researchers improve their study of Earth’s environment.

Data from NOAA-19 will support several NOAA programs, including:

Weather analysis and forecasting
Climate research and prediction
Global sea surface temperature measurements
Atmospheric soundings of temperature and humidity
Ocean dynamics research
Volcanic eruption monitoring
Forest fire detection
Global vegetation analysis
Search and rescue operations.

NOAA operates two types of satellite systems for the United States - geostationary and polar-orbiting. Geostationary satellites constantly monitor the Western Hemisphere from around 22,240 miles above the Earth, and polar-orbiting satellites circle the Earth providing global information from approximately 540 miles above the Earth.

The worldwide demand for satellite data is growing so NOAA is working closely with the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites to ensure seamless satellite coverage. Under an agreement between the organizations, NOAA’s two operational polar-orbiting satellites - NOAA-18 and NOAA-19 - are carrying a EUMETSAT instrument. In return, through 2020, EUMETSAT is carrying key NOAA instruments on board its European-built MetOp satellites.

Details about NOAA’s satellite operations and the wide variety of information these valuable spacecraft provide is available online.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.