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Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP)

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Status: Current, Prime Mission
Mission Category: Inter-Agency Partnerships
Launch Date: October 28, 2011
Launch Location: Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA

The Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) is a joint mission to extend key measurements in support of long-term monitoring of climate trends and of global biological productivity. It extends the measurement series initiated with EOS Terra and AQUA by providing a bridge between NASA's EOS missions and the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS). JPSS is the civilian component of the former National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), which was reorganized by the administration in 2010.

The Suomi NPP mission will provide operational agencies early access to the next generation of sensors, thereby greatly reducing the risks incurred during the transition. This will permit testing of the advanced ground operations facilities and validation of sensors and algorithms while the current operational systems are still in place. This new system will provide nearly an order of magnitude more data than the current operational system.

JPSS will provide long-term systematic measurements of key environmental variables beginning about 2016. In preparation for this system, Suomi NPP will provide risk reduction for this future operational system and it will maintain continuity of certain environmental data sets that were initiated with NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites. These measurements will be taken by five different sensors; Visible Infrared Imaging spectroRadiometer Suite (VIIRS), Crosstrack Infrared Sounder (CrIS), and Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS), Ozone Mapping and Profiling Suite (OMPS) and the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES). These sensors will collect data on atmospheric and sea surface temperatures, humidity soundings, land and ocean biological productivity, cloud and aerosol properties, ozone and ozone profiles, and Earth radiation budget measurements. This data will be used for long-term climate and global change studies.

NASA announced on January 25 at the American Meteorological Society annual meeting that the NPP mission has been renamed the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership, or Suomi NPP, in honor of the late Verner Suomi, a pioneer of satellite meteorology.

Key Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership Facts

Mission/Portal Page: http://science.nasa.gov/missions/suomi-npp/
Altitude:Distance from sea level. 824km
Inclination: 97.1°
Local Node:Approximate time, at the equator when vehicle is directly overhead. 1:30 p.m.
Instruments: ATMS (Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder)
CERES (Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy System)
CrIS (Cross-Track Infrared Sounder)
OMPS (Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite)
VIIRS (Visible/Infrared Imager/Radiometer Suite)
Project Scientist(s): Jim Gleason
Deputy Project Scientist(s): N. Christina Hsu

Related Publications:

Relevant Science Focus Areas:

  • Atmospheric Composition
  • Carbon Cycle, Ecosystems, and Biogeochemistry
  • Climate Variability and Change
  • Water and Energy Cycle
  • Weather

Relevant Science Questions:

  • How will the Earth system change in the future?

Science Goals:

  • Suomi NPP will provide NASA with continuation of a set of global-change observations initiated by the EOS Terra, Aqua, and Aura missions. The observations will contribute to the Systematic Measurements element of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise (ESE). Research Strategy for 2000-2010. The systematic measurements will be used in the development of consistent, long-term data records from multi-instrument, multi-platform, and multi-year observations, with due attention to calibration and validation. In that context, Suomi NPP's Environmental Data Records (EDRs), similar to EOS Level 2 swath products, will be generated in near-real time in NPOESS production facilities. NASA will help validate and enhance the algorithms, driving them toward science-grade quality where possible. NPP also serves as a risk-reduction demonstration for key aspects of NPOESS, the nation's future polar-orbiting operational satellite system. Together, Suomi NPP's objectives will allow NASA science programs to transition their systematic observation requirements from research grade missions to NPOESS and other operational missions.

Related Applications:

  • Agricultural Efficiency
  • Air Quality
  • Aviation
  • Carbon Management
  • Coastal Management
  • Disaster Management
  • Ecological Forecasting
  • Homeland Security
  • Invasive Species
  • Public Health
  • Water Management