Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS)
The Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) is the Nation's next
generation of polar-orbiting environmental satellites. JPSS is a collaborative effort between
NOAA and NASA, and represents significant technological and scientific advancements in severe
weather prediction and en¬vironmental monitoring.
JPSS satellites circle the Earth from pole-to-pole and cross the equator 14 times daily in the
afternoon orbit—providing full global coverage twice a day. Polar satellites are considered the
backbone of the global observing system. JPSS will operate in the afternoon orbit, joining the
European MetOp satellites (flying the mid-morning orbit) to provide full global coverage of the
Earth's ocean, land and atmosphere.
JPSS satellites simultaneously provide sophisticated meteorological data and observations of
atmosphere, ocean, and land for short-term, seasonal, and long-term monitoring and forecasting.
The most important function of JPSS is to increase the timeliness and accuracy of forecasts three
to seven days in advance of a severe weather event. NOAA's National Weather Service uses JPSS
data as critical input for numerical forecast models, providing the basis for these mid-range
These forecasts allow for early warnings and enable emergency managers to make timely
decisions to protect American lives and property, including ordering effective evacuations. JPSS
satellites also provide support for zero to three day operational forecasting, which is
particularly important in Polar Regions because they cannot be viewed effectively by
geostationary spacecraft. In Alaska, JPSS provides critical data for nearly all of the weather
forecasting for aviation, as well as for the economically vital maritime, oil and gas
indus¬tries. JPSS also enables scientists and forecasters to monitor and predict weather patterns
with greater accuracy and to study long-term climate trends by extending the more than 30-year
satellite data record.
Information from JPSS supports every area of NOAA's mission, including ensuring a more
"Weather-Ready Nation," healthy coasts, resilient coastal communities, and adapting and
mitigating climate change. Satellites in the JPSS constellation gather global measurements of
atmospheric, terrestrial and oceanic conditions—including atmospheric temperature,
atmospheric moisture, hurricane intensity, clouds, rainfall, dense fog, volcanic ash, fire
locations, smoke plumes, sea and land surface temperatures, vegetation, snow and ice cover, and
JPSS includes three polar-orbiting satellites with five instruments, a versatile ground system
and one experimental payload. The satellites are the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership
(Suomi NPP), JPSS-1 and JPSS-2. JPSS also supports the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer
(AMSR) on the Japanese Space Exploration Agency Global Climate Observation Mission- Water and the
Total Solar Irradiance Calibration Transfer Experiment (TCTE) experimental payload that measures
the sun's energy output.
The state-of-the-art instruments on board the currently flying Suomi NPP satellite are the
Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS), Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), Visible
Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) and Clouds and
the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES ). Building off Suomi NPP's success the JPSS-1 satellite
mission, launching in 2017, will host similar instruments: ATMS, CrIS, VIIRS, OMPS-Nadir and