Oct 20, 2011

NASA postpones climate satellite launch to Oct 28

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NASA on Wednesday set October 28 for its planned launch of a satellite to help weather forecasters predict extreme storms and offer scientists a better view of climate change.

The 1.5 billion dollar National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project (NPP) is the first to measure both short and long term changes in weather and climate, the US space agency said.

The launch, initially set for October 27, “has been retargeted for Oct 28,” NASA said in a message on the micro-blogging site Twitter.

The satellite will launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California between 5:48 am Eastern time (0948 GMT) and 5:57 am (0957 GMT).

The SUV-sized satellite will carry five instruments to study temperature and water in the atmosphere, how clouds and aerosols affect temperature, and how plants on land and in the ocean respond to environmental changes.

“This is really the first mission that is designed to provide observations for both weather forecasters and climate researchers,” Jim Gleason, NPP project scientist, told reporters earlier this month.

NPP’s observations will help scientists better predict the future environment and these prediction are incredibly valuable for economic, security and humanitarian reasons.”

The satellite is one of 14 Earth observation missions currently being managed by NASA. Project managers said they hope it will operate for about five years.