February 8 2016

NOAA's Polar Follow-On / JPSS-3 and -4 Satellites in Final FY 2016 Appropriations Bill

NOAA received funding and approval by the Congress in the FY 2016 appropriations bill for JPSS Program to initiate the Polar Follow-On (PFO) JPSS-3 and JPSS-4 satellites. With this funding, the JPSS Program now includes five polar-orbiting satellites, each with five instruments, and a versatile ground segment. The suite of satellites that are part of the JPSS Program are: the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP), JPSS-1, JPSS-2, JPSS-3, and JPSS-4. The JPSS program will now provide polar coverage through the 2030s to ensure the continuity and robustness of critical polar weather satellite observations.

NOAA's Polar Follow-On / JPSS-3 and -4 Satellites in Final FY 2016 Appropriations Bill

JPSS provides data and information to NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS), national defense, emergency managers and other users in the U.S. and around the globe with improved accuracy of public warnings and forecasts of weather and climate events, thus reducing the potential loss of human life and property. As a result of the instrument capabilities and the global observations, information from JPSS supports every area of NOAA's mission, including supporting a more "Weather-Ready Nation," healthy coasts, resilient coastal communities, and adapting and mitigating climate change.

Polar-orbiting satellites provide the most important type of observations for accurately predicting weather three days and beyond. This advanced notice greatly aids our Nation's leaders, decision makers, emergency managers, and media to provide better warnings and advisories to responders and to the public-at-large. The global environmental data from satellites in the JPSS constellation are fed into numerical weather prediction (NWP) models to provide these warnings, forecasts, and environmental and climate monitoring.

Data from the JPSS system is made available on a full, open, and timely basis to both domestic and international partners and users by the United States Government, in support of the U.S.' commitment to Global Earth Observing System of System (GEOSS) with more than 88 participating countries and the European Commission.

JPSS’ accurate and reliable weather instruments will also extend a more than 30+ years of long-standing climate observation records, allowing study of long-term climate trends—which is increasingly important to the American public and scientific researchers alike in response to increased weather disasters and events. In fact, JPSS satellites improve and extend climate measurements for 30 different Environmental Data Records of the atmosphere, land, ocean, and climate.

The state-of-the-art instruments on board the currently flying Suomi NPP satellite are the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS), Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) -Nadir and OMPS-Limb, and Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES).

Building off Suomi NPP’s success the JPSS-1 satellite mission, launching in FY 2017, will host similar instruments: ATMS, CrIS, VIIRS, OMPS-Nadir, and CERES.

On the JPSS-2 satellite, ATMS, CrIS, VIIRS, OMPS-Nadir will fly as NOAA-developed instruments. NASA will provide two instruments, a Radiation Budget and OMPS-Limb for integration onto the spacecraft. JPSS-2 is planned for launch in FY 2021. JPSS-3 and 4 will fly ATMS, CrIS, VIIRS, OMPS-Nadir with anticipated launch dates of FY 2026 and FY 2031, respectively.

Overall program management and funding for JPSS and PFO is provided by NOAA with engineering support from NASA. JPSS is the Nation’s next generation of polar-orbiting environmental satellites and represents significant technological and scientific advancements in severe weather prediction and environmental monitoring and will help advance weather, climate, environmental and oceanographic science.