Beth Schmid Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1760


November 15, 1994

Jim Elliott Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD (Phone: 301/286-6256) Pat Viets NOAA NESDIS (Phone: 301/763-2560) RELEASE: 94 -189 DECEMBER 4 LAUNCH PLANNED FOR NOAA-J A new satellite that will provide near continuous health checks of planet Earth will be launched in early December. NOAA-J, a joint project of NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Air Force, is scheduled for launch at 2:02 a.m. PST on December 4, 1994. The launch will be from Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA, aboard an Atlas-E during a 10-minute window. The 3,775-pound (1,712-kg) spacecraft will be launched into a 541-mile (870-km) orbit with an inclination to the equator of 98.86 degrees. From this vantage point, the new satellite will circle the Earth every 102 minutes, passing over the North and South Poles on each orbit of the planet. Like other NOAA satellites, NOAA-J will collect meteorological data and transmit the information directly to users around the world to enhance local weather analysis and forecasting. In addition, the satellite data are used for hurricane tracking and warning and for agricultural, commercial fishing, forestry, maritime and other industrial uses. The satellite, to be known as NOAA-14 in orbit, will carry seven scientific instruments and two for Search and Rescue (SAR).


-2The scientific instruments include the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR); the Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet Spectral Radiometer Mod 2 (SBUV/2); a suite of three sounding instruments consisting of the Stratospheric Sounding Unit (SSU), the High Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder (HIRS/2I), and the Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU); and the Space Environment Monitor (SEM) and Data Collection System (DCS). The AVHRR, built by ITT, is a scanning radiometer used for remotely determining cloud cover and surface temperature. The SBUV/2, built by Ball Aerospace, is a spectrally-scanning radiometer for measuring solar irradiance and backscattered solar energy. The SSU, built by Matra Marconi in Great Britain, will make temperature measurements in the upper atmosphere. The HIRS/2I, built by ITT, detects and measures energy emitted by the atmosphere to construct vertical temperature profiles from the Earth's surface to an altitude of 25 miles (40 km). The MSU, built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, detects and measures microwave energy (allowing it to see through clouds to the Earth's surface) from the troposphere to construct atmospheric vertical profiles to an altitude of 12 miles (20 km). The SEM is a multichannel, charged-particle spectrometer that measures the population of the Earth's radiation belts and the particle precipitation phenomena resulting from solar activity. The SEM was built by LORAL (Ford-Philco)/NOAA Space Environment Laboratory. The DCS, built by Serge Desault of France, collects relevant data from buoys, free-floating balloons and remote weather stations and retransmits the information to ground stations. The ground stations send it to a Centre National d'Etude Spatials (the French space agency, CNES) central processing facility in France where processing is completed. From there, it is distributed to users and is stored on magnetic tape for archival purposes.

The SAR equipment is part of an international search and rescue program known as COSPAS/SARSAT. Primary participants in the humanitarian program are Canada, France, Russia and the United States. In operation since September 1982, the program is responsible for having saved more than 3,900 lives. The SAR instruments onboard are the Search and Rescue Repeater (SARR), built in Canada by SPAR, and the Search and Rescue Processor with Memory, built in France by Serge Desault. NOAA-J will join four other NOAA satellites in polar orbit. They are NOAA-9, launched in December 1984; NOAA-10, launched in September 1986; NOAA-11, launched in September 1988, and NOAA-12, launched in May 1991. -more-3NOAA-11 is the primary operational afternoon satellite, and NOAA-12 is the primary operational morning satellite. NOAA-J is scheduled to replace NOAA-11 as the primary afternoon satellite. NOAA-13, launched in August 1993, suffered a power failure 12 days after launch, and all attempts to command the spacecraft have been unsuccessful. The NOAA-J spacecraft was built by Martin Marietta/Astro Space, Princeton, NJ. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt MD, is responsible for the construction, integration and launch of the satellite. Operational control of the spacecraft moves to NOAA after it is checked out on orbit. The Atlas-E launch vehicle was built by General Dynamics (recently acquired by Martin Marietta). The U.S. Air Force manages the Atlas-E program and the Vandenberg Air Force Base support efforts. -endNASA press releases and other information are available automatically by sending an Internet electronic mail message to In the body of the message (not the subject line) users should type the words "subscribe press-release" (no

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