The Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) is the latest generation of U.S. polar-orbiting, non-geosynchronous, environmental satellites. JPSS will provide the global environmental data used in numerical weather prediction models for forecasts, and scientific data used for climate monitoring. JPSS will aid in fulfilling the mission of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an agency of the Department of Commerce. Data and imagery obtained from the JPSS will increase timeliness and accuracy of public warnings and forecasts of climate and weather events, thus reducing the potential loss of human life and property and advancing the national economy. The JPSS is developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), who is responsible for operation of JPSS. Three to five satellites are planned for the JPSS constellation of satellites. JPSS satellites will be flown, and the scientific data from JPSS will be processed, by the JPSS – Common Ground System (JPSS-CGS).
The first satellite in the JPSS is the Suomi NPP satellite, which launched on October 28, 2011. This was followed by JPSS-1, which was launched on November 18, 2017, three years later than when stated when the contract was awarded in 2010. On November 21, 2017, after reaching its final orbit, JPSS-1 was renamed NOAA-20. Three more JPSS satellites will be launched between 2022 and 2032.
In addition, the TSI Calibration Transfer Experiment, launched on the U.S. Air Force Space Test Program Satellite-3 (STPSat-3) on November 19, 2013, is also part of JPSS.
The United States has had two main polar orbiting satellite programs which both began in the 1960s. NOAA's POES (Polar Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite) series and the USAF's DMSP (Defense Metrological Satellite Program). JPSS was created by the White House in February 2010 following the restructuring dissolution of the National Polar-orbiting Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) program. The original satellite orbit concept from the NPOESS program was divided between two sponsor agencies: NOAA was given responsibility for the afternoon orbit, while environmental measurements from morning orbit were to be obtained from the Defense Weather Satellite System (DWSS). DWSS was cancelled in April 2012. The military will continue to rely on the Air Force Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) constellation of satellites until the Weather System Follow-on satellites are operational.
An independent review team (IRT) was assigned to provide an independent assessment of the total NOAA satellite enterprise, including JPSS. Its findings were published in 2012.
Data imagery obtained from the Joint Polar Satellite System will increase timeliness and accuracy of public warnings such as predictions of climate, weather, and natural hazards, thus reducing the potential loss of human life, property and advancing the national economy.
JPSS will replace the current Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites (POES), managed by NOAA and the ground processing component of both POES and the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP). Operational environmental requirements from polar-orbit are also met by the NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) (now called the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership or Suomi NPP or S-NPP), which launched October 28, 2011.
Data from the JPSS system shall be made freely available, by the United States Government, to domestic and international users, in support of U.S. commitments for the Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS).
The JPSS satellites will carry a suite of sensors designed to collect meteorological, oceanographic, climatological, and solar-geophysical observations of the earth land, oceans, atmosphere, and near-earth space.
The ground communications and processing system for JPSS is known as the JPSS Common Ground System (JPSS CGS), and consists of a Command, Control, and Communications Segment (C3S) and the Interface Data Processing Segment (IDPS). Both are developed by Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems (IIS). The IDPS will process JPSS satellite data to provide environmental data products (aka, Environmental Data Records or EDRs) to NOAA and DoD processing centers operated by the United States government. The IDPS has processed EDRs beginning with NPP and is slated to continue doing so through the lifetime of the JPSS and WSF-M systems.
The C3S is responsible for managing the overall JPSS (and potentially WSF-M) missions from control and status of the space and ground assets to ensuring delivery of timely, high-quality data from the Space Segments (SS) to IDPS for processing. In addition, the C3S provides the globally distributed ground assets necessary to collect and transport mission, telemetry, and command data between the satellites and the processing locations.
The JPSS Common Ground System (CGS) converges the NOAA-NASA civil polar environmental satellite program, NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP), and the Air Force's Defense Weather Satellite System (DWSS) ground systems into a single, common system that will satisfy both U.S. and partner international environmental monitoring satellite needs from polar orbit.
There is only one operating satellite, NOAA-20, that was designed as part of JPSS, but there are two other satellites that are associated with the program.
The Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP), previously known as the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project (NPP) and NPP-Bridge, has a nearly identical design as NOAA-20 and shares some ground systems with it but it was not designed as a part of JPSS. It was originally proposed as a proof-of-concept satellite, and now supports NOAA and DoD operations. Suomi NPP was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on 28 October 2011 at 09:48 GMT. It is the first in-flight use of the JPSS ground system and key sensors which are on NOAA-20 and it served as both risk-reduction and as an early-flight opportunity for the JPSS program.
In addition, the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) Calibration Transfer Experiment, which was launched on the U.S. Air Force Space Test Program Satellite-3 (STPSat-3) on November 19, 2013, is an experimental payload under the JPSS system. It is an instrument that measures the sun's energy output and was launched as a ride-share opportunity as a way of maintaining the continuity of TSI observations.
NOAA-20 launched on November 18, 2017. NOAA-20 hosts the following instruments: (1) VIIRS, (2) CrIS, (3) ATMS, (4) OMPS-N, and (5) CERES.
JPSS-2 is scheduled to launch on November 1, 2022. The JPSS-2 spacecraft will host the following instruments: (1) VIIRS, (2) CrIS, (3) ATMS, and (4) OMPS-N.
JPSS-3 is scheduled to launch in 2028. JPSS-3 will carry updated versions of: (1) VIIRS, (2) CrIS, (3) ATMS, and (4) OMPS-N.
JPSS-4 is scheduled to launch in 2032. Like JPSS-3, JPSS-4 will carry updated versions of: (1) VIIRS, (2) CrIS, (3) ATMS, and (4) OMPS-N.
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (BATC) of Boulder, CO is the spacecraft contractor for both the JPSS-1 satellite and the Ozone instrument (OMPS) on the JPSS program and NPP.
Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems of Dulles, VA, has been selected to build the JPSS-2 spacecraft.
Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems (NGAS), of Azusa, CA is the developer and builder for the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS), a legacy instrument previously flown on the NPP mission.
Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems (NGAS) of Redondo Beach, CA is the developer and builder for the Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES), a legacy instrument previously flown on the NASA Earth Observation System (EOS) satellites.
Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems (IIS) of Aurora, CO is the prime contractor for the JPSS Common Ground System (CGS), whose major components necessary for operation of the NPP spacecraft have been delivered. Interface Data Processing Systems (IDPS) have been installed at two U.S. government processing facilities, known as weather centrals.
Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems (SAS) of El Segundo, CA is the developer and builder for the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS).
L3Harris Technologies Fort Wayne, Indiana division, is the developer and builder for the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) instrument planned for flight on the first and second Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS-1 and JPSS-2).