NASA'S NPP satellite acquires first ATMS measurements

Nov 10, 2011
This global image shows the ATMS channel 18-microwave antenna temperature at 183.3 GHz on Nov. 8, 2011. This channel measures atmospheric water vapor; note that Tropical Storm Sean is visible in the data, as the blue patch, in the Atlantic off the coast of the Southeastern United States. The ATMS data were processed at the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility (NSOF) in Suitland, Md. Credit: NASA/NOAA

The Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) on board NASA's newest Earth-observing satellite, NPP, acquired its first measurements on November 8, 2011. The image shows the ATMS channel 18 data, which measures water vapor in the lower atmosphere. Tropical Storm Sean is visible in the data, as the patch of blue, in the Atlantic off the coast of the Southeastern United States. The data were processed at the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility (NSOF) in Suitland, Md.

The ATMS is one of five instruments on board the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project, or NPP, that launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on October 28. Since then, NPP has successfully completed all spacecraft commissioning activities and powered on all instruments. In the next few weeks, all instruments will be commissioned and NPP will be sending science data from the four remaining instruments by mid-December.

A passive , the ATMS instrument can collect data even when it is cloudy. Paired with the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), also aboard NPP, they will produce global sets of high-resolution temperature and moisture profiles that are used for forecasting and studying weather.

"NPP is rock solid," stated Ken Schwer, NPP project manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. "The satellite has performed extremely well during the checkout maneuvers and is in the expert hands of the mission operations team at NSOF."

During the commissioning activities, which were completed November 5, the NPP spacecraft subsystems were successfully tested, including command and control, propulsion and communications. NPP spacecraft and instrument data is sent from the spacecraft to the ground station in Svalbard, Norway and then to the NSOF.

In addition to the ATMS and the CrIS instruments, NPP carries 3 more state-of-the-art sensors that will provide critical information concerning long-term and will help meteorologists improve short-term weather forecasts. During the satellite's five-year life, the mission will extend more than 30 key long-term datasets NASA has been tracking, including measurements of the ozone layer, and land and ice cover.

"NPP data will improve our forecast skills out to 5 to 7 days in advance of extreme weather events, including hurricanes, and severe weather outbreaks," said Dr. Louis Uccellini, director of NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction. "With NPP, our goal is to make the accurate forecasts achieved for this year's events even better in the future."

NPP serves as a bridge mission between NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) of satellites and the next-generation Joint Polar System, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) program that will also collect weather and climate data.

Explore further: SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NPP satellite successfully completes thermal vac testing

May 25, 2011

The NASA National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project (NPP) climate and weather satellite has successfully passed all environmental testing with the recent completion of ...

NASA's NPP satellite completes comprehensive testing

Aug 08, 2011

The NASA National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project (NPP) has successfully completed its most comprehensive end-to-end compatibility test of the actual ...

NASA's NPP satellite undergoing flight environmental testing

Feb 12, 2011

The NASA National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project (NPP) climate/weather satellite is undergoing flight environmental testing at Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp's production ...

Recommended for you

SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

Dec 19, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level flare on Dec. 18, 2014, at 4:58 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts ...

Why is Venus so horrible?

Dec 19, 2014

Venus sucks. Seriously, it's the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you ...

Image: Christmas wrapping the Sentinel-3A antenna

Dec 19, 2014

The moment a team of technicians, gowned like hospital surgeons, wraps the Sentinel-3A radar altimeter in multilayer insulation to protect it from the temperature extremes found in Earth orbit.

Video: Flying over Becquerel

Dec 19, 2014

This latest release from the camera on ESA's Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.