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George Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
(321) 867-2468

Cynthia M. O'Carroll
Goddard Space Flight Center
(301) 614-5563

John Leslie
NOAA Satellites and Information Service
(301) 457-5005

RELEASE : 05-05
NOAA-N Satellite Arrives at VAFB for Final Prelaunch Testing
The latest polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite developed by NASA for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), called NOAA-N, arrived today by C5A military cargo aircraft at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. NOAA-N will undergo final testing and launch processing prior to its scheduled March 19 launch.

The satellite will be launched from the Western Range at Vandenberg AFB by a two-stage Boeing Delta II 7320-10 space launch vehicle.

NOAA-N will be prepared for launch in a NASA payload processing facility located on north Vandenberg AFB. On Jan. 14, the satellite will be removed from its shipping container and rotated from the horizontal to vertical position. The following day, it will be mated to the Delta II payload attach fitting and placed on a test stand. System testing of the NOAA-N spacecraft is scheduled to begin on Jan. 21.

At Space Launch Complex 2, the first stage of the Boeing Delta II rocket was erected on the launch pad on Jan. 12. Attachment of the solid rocket boosters is scheduled for Jan. 17 and will be followed by hoisting the second stage atop the first stage on Jan. 18.

NOAA-N is the latest satellite in the Advanced Television Infrared Observational Satellites - N (ATN) series built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. This spacecraft will continue to provide a polar-orbiting platform to support environmental monitoring instruments for imaging and measuring the Earth's atmosphere, its surface and cloud cover, including Earth radiation, atmospheric ozone, aerosol distribution, sea surface temperature, and vertical temperature and water profiles in the troposphere and stratosphere. It will assist in measuring proton and electron flux at orbit altitude, collecting data from remote platforms and will assist the Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking system.

Additionally, NOAA-N is the fourth in the series to support dedicated microwave instruments for the generation of temperature, moisture, surface, and hydrological products in cloudy regions where visible and infrared instruments have decreased capability.

Once on orbit, NOAA-N will be renamed NOAA-18 and will provide measurements of the Earth's surface and atmosphere that will be entered into NOAA's weather forecasting models and used for other environmental studies.

Each day, polar-orbiting operational environmental satellites send global measurements to NOAA's Command and Data Acquisition station computers, adding vital information to forecasting models, especially over the oceans, where conventional data is lacking.

For more information about NOAA-N and the polar orbiting satellites, see the following Web sites:


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