NOAA-N Prime Friday, NASA launched the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration’s latest polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite, called NOAA-N Prime. It will improve U.S. search and rescue operations, NOAA’s weather forecasting, and monitoring environmental events around the world.
Built by Lockheed Martin, NOAA-N Prime is the fifth and last in the current series of five polar-orbiting satellites with improved imaging and sounding capabilities.
It will collect meteorological data and transmit the information to NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service, which processes the data for input to the National Weather Service for its long-range weather and climate forecasts. Forecasters worldwide also will be able to access the satellite’s images and data.
“Within the U.S. and around the world there is a growing demand for reliable coverage and accurate data from satellites that can tell what’s happening in the environment,” said Mary Kicza, assistant administrator for NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service. “Launching NOAA-N-Prime will help meet the demand.”
The satellite uses L-band transmitters for high-resolution images from numerous sensors and also transmits lower resolution images on VHF frequencies
NOAA-N Prime has instruments that support the Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking System (SARSAT), part of the international satellite system that includes the Russian provided satellites (COSPAS). Since SARSAT was established in 1982, NOAA polar-orbiting satellites have been detecting emergency distress beacons set by aviators, mariners and individuals in remote locations and relaying them to ground stations so that rescue teams may be dispatched.