Artist's concept of a future NPOESS satellite, 2006.

The National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) was to be the United States' next-generation satellite system that would monitor the Earth's weather, atmosphere, oceans, land, and near-space environment. NPOESS satellites were to host proven technologies and operational versions of sensors that were under operational-prototyping by NASA, at that time. The estimated launch date for the first NPOESS satellite, "C1" or "Charlie 1" was around 2013. Issues with sensor developments were the primary cited reason for delays and cost-overruns.

NPOESS was a tri-agency program led by an Integrated Program Office (IPO) containing staff from the US Department of Defense, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and NASA.[1] NPOESS was to be operated by the NOAA/National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) / NPOESS Program Executive Office Flight Operations at the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility (NSOF) in Suitland, MD. TRW, later Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems (NGAS) after TRW was acquired by Northrop Grumman,[2] was the primary system integrator for the NPOESS project.[3] Raytheon, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. and Boeing were developing the sensors.

The NPOESS satellites were intended to be a replacement for both the United States Department of Defense's Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) and the NOAA Polar Operational Environmental Satellites (POES) series. The NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) was planned as a pathfinder mission for NPOESS. The project had to go through three Nunn-McCurdy reviews, Congressional hearings that are automatically triggered when a program goes over budget by more than 25%.[4] Suomi NPP was launched five years behind schedule, on October 28, 2011.[5][6]

The White House announced on February 1, 2010, that the NPOESS satellite partnership was to be dissolved, and that two separate lines of polar-orbiting satellites to serve military and civilian users would be pursued instead:[7]


  1. ^ "TRW Awarded $2.9 Billion NPOESS Contract". August 23, 2002. Retrieved May 25, 2021.
  2. ^ Wayne, Leslie (July 2, 2002). "Northrop to Buy TRW for $7.8 Billion". The New York Times. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  3. ^ "NPOESS". Retrieved May 25, 2021.
  4. ^ 109th Congress, 2nd Session, House of Representatives. Hearing before the Committee on Science, The future of NPOESS: results of the Nunn-McCurdy review of NOAA's weather satellite program. June 8, 2006. Serial No. 109-53. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 2007
  5. ^ "JPSS satellite delays risk loss of global climate data continuity". Climate Science Watch. 10 July 2012. Retrieved 12 Feb 2013.
  6. ^ "Suomi NPP Mission Overview". NASA. Retrieved 12 Feb 2013.
  7. ^ "White House Dissolves NPOESS Satellite Partnership". SpaceNews. 2 Feb 2010. Archived from the original on September 12, 2012. Retrieved 12 Feb 2013.
  8. ^ "NASA AWARDS CONTRACT FOR JPSS-1 SPACECRAFT". NASA. 23 Sep 2010. Retrieved 12 Feb 2013.
  9. ^ "U.S. Satellite Plans Falter, Imperiling Data on Storms". New York Times. October 26, 2012. Retrieved 12 Feb 2013.
  10. ^ Bergin, Chris (18 November 2017). "Delta II launches on penultimate mission with JPSS-1". Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  11. ^ "Outlines of Pentagon Weather Satellite Plan Starting To Emerge". SpaceNews. 30 Jun 2010. Archived from the original on September 9, 2012. Retrieved 12 Feb 2013.
  12. ^ "Proposed next-generation weather satellites get the ax". Spaceflight Now. January 24, 2012.