JPSS Emblem

Joint Polar Satellite System

From our global observations to your local weather forecast
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Mission and Instruments

Instrument Render

The Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) is the Nation's new generation polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite system. JPSS is a collaborative program between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its acquisition agent, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). This interagency effort is the latest generation of U.S. polar-orbiting, non-geosynchronous environmental satellites.

JPSS was established in the President's Fiscal Year 2011 budget request (February 2010) as the civilian successor to the restructured National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS). As the backbone of the global observing system, JPSS polar satellites circle the Earth from pole-to-pole and cross the equator about 14 times daily in the afternoon orbit, providing full global coverage twice a day.

Satellites in the JPSS constellation gather global measurements of atmospheric, terrestrial and oceanic conditions, including sea and land surface temperatures, vegetation, clouds, rainfall, snow and ice cover, fire locations and smoke plumes, atmospheric temperature, water vapor and ozone. JPSS delivers key observations for the Nation's essential products and services, including forecasting severe weather like hurricanes, tornadoes and blizzards days in advance, and assessing environmental hazards such as droughts, forest fires, poor air quality and harmful coastal waters. Further, JPSS will provide continuity of critical, global observations of Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and land through 2038.

NOAA, an agency within the Department of Commerce (DOC), works in partnership with NASA on all JPSS missions to ensure a more "Weather-Ready Nation."


The Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) instrument is a next generation cross-track microwave sounder that provides atmospheric temperature and moisture profiles for operational weather and climate applications.

ATMS is a key instrument that collects microwave radiation from the Earth's atmosphere and surface all day and all night—even through clouds. ATMS currently flies on the Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 satellite missions and will fly on JPSS-2, -3 and -4.

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atms instrument

The Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System instrument measures the solar energy reflected by Earth, the heat the planet emits, and the role of clouds in that process. The CERES FM5 is currently flying on the Suomi NPP satellite mission, and an updated version of the instrument, CERES FM6 is aboard NOAA-20. The CERES data record extends back to 1997. Prior to CERES, the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) collected similar data beginning in 1984.

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ceres instrument

The Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) instrument is the first in a series of advanced operational sounders that provides more accurate, detailed atmospheric temperature and moisture observations for weather and climate applications.

CrIS is a key instrument currently flying on the Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 satellites, and represents a significant enhancement over NOAA's legacy infrared sounder—the High Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounders (HIRS). CrIS will be among the instruments on the JPSS-2, -3 and -4 satellite missions.

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cris instrument

The advanced Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) tracks the health of the ozone layer and measures the concentration of ozone in the Earth's atmosphere.

OMPS consists of three spectrometers: a downward-looking nadir mapper, a nadir profiler and a limb profiler. The entire OMPS suite, OMPS-Nadir (OMPS-N) and OMPS-Limb (OMPS-L), currently fly on board the Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 satellites spacecraft and are scheduled to fly on the JPSS-2, -3 and -4 satellite missions.

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omps instrument

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument collects visible and infrared imagery and global observations of the land, atmosphere, cryosphere and oceans.

Currently flying on the Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 satellite missions, VIIRS generates many critical environmental products pertaining to snow and ice cover, clouds, fog, aerosols, fire, smoke plumes, dust, vegetation health, phytoplankton abundance and chlorophyll. VIIRS will also be flown on the JPSS-2, -3 and -4 satellite missions.

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viirs instrument

JPSS Satellites

Suomi NPP Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership
JPSS-1/NOAA 20 Joint Polar Satellite System - 1
JPSS-2 Joint Polar Satellite System - 2
JPSS-3 Joint Polar Satellite System - 3
JPSS-4 Joint Polar Satellite System - 4
TCTE TSI Calibration Transfer Experiment

Suomi NPP

Suomi NPP satellite The NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) was renamed to Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) in honor of Verner E. Suomi, University of Wisconsin meteorologist, widely recognized as the "Father of Satellite Meteorology."

Launched from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base a board a Delta-II Mission Launch Vehicle in October 2011, Suomi NPP is the predecessor to the JPSS series spacecraft and is considered the bridge between NOAA's legacy polar satellite fleet, NASA's Earth observing missions and the JPSS constellation. Suomi NPP was constructed with a design life of five years (although it’s still functioning normally) and carries five state-of-the-art instruments: (1) VIIRS, (2) CrIS, (3) ATMS, (4) OMPS, and (5) CERES FM5.


JPSS-1 Satellite NOAA-20, which launched into space on November 18, 2017, is the first spacecraft of NOAA's next generation of polar-orbiting satellites. Capitalizing on the success of Suomi NPP, NOAA-20 features five similar instruments: (1) VIIRS, (2) CrIS, (3) ATMS, (4) OMPS-N, and (5) CERES-FM6. NOAA-20 has a design life of seven years and it will circle the Earth in the same orbit as Suomi NPP, although the two satellites will be separated in time and space by 50 minutes.


JPSS-2 Satellite The JPSS-2 spacecraft will feature several instruments similar to those found on NOAA-20— VIIRS, CrIS, ATMS and OMPS-N—and provide operational continuity of satellite-based observations of atmospheric, terrestrial and oceanic conditions for both weather forecasting and long-term climate and environmental data records. It is scheduled to launch in 2022.


JPSS-3, the third spacecraft in the JPSS series, is scheduled to launch in 2028. Benefiting from on the success of previous JPSS spacecraft, JPSS-3 will carry instruments similar to those found on earlier JPSS satellites: VIIRS, CrIS, ATMS and OMPS-N.


Scheduled to launch in 2032, JPSS-4 is the fourth and final spacecraft of the JPSS constellation. Similar to previous JPSS spacecraft, JPSS-4 will host the latest versions of the VIIRS, CrIS, ATMS and OMPS-N instruments.

TSI Calibration Transfer Experiment (TCTE)

The Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) Calibration Transfer Experiment (TCTE) is the experimental payload under the JPSS system. It is an instrument that measures the sun's energy output and was hosted aboard a U.S. Air Force Space Test Program Satellite-3 (STPSat-3) and launched on November 19, 2013 from NASA Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia. JPSS was able to take advantage of this ride-share opportunity to provide a low-cost means of maintaining the continuity of TSI observations.