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NPP (National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project), was launched from Vandenberg AFB on 28 October 2011 at 09:48 UT by a Delta rocket. NPP is a joint effort between the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) and the NPOESS Integrated Program Office (IPO). NPP is an Earth-observing satellite designed to collect data critical to improving short-term weather forecasts and increase understanding of long-term climate change.

The NPP mission collects and distributes remotely-sensed land, ocean, and atmospheric data to the meteorological and global climate change communities as the responsibility for these measurements transitions from existing Earth-observing missions to the NPOESS. It will provide atmospheric and sea surface temperatures, humidity sounding, land and ocean biological productivity, and cloud and aerosol properties. In addition to providing data for accurate weather forecasting, NPP tracks ash plumes from volcanic eruptions, assists emergency responders fight wildfires, helps advance climate science, accurately measures the amount of Arctic sea ice and changes in the ozone hole, and monitors phytoplankton and other organisms in the ocean.

NPP is expected to send back 4 TB of data daily, the equivalent to 800 DVDs of storage. It has a planned mission duration of five years, but the spacecraft has a design life of seven years and could remain operational for longer.

Alternate Names

  • 37849
  • NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP)
  • National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2011-10-28
Launch Vehicle: Delta II 7920
Launch Site: Vandenberg AFB, United States
Mass: 1976 kg

Funding Agencies

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (United States)
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (United States)


  • Earth Science

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Kenneth O. SchwerProject ManagerNASA Goddard Space Flight
Mr. Robert B. LillyDeputy Project ManagerNASA Goddard Space Flight
Dr. Diane E. WicklandProgram ScientistNASA Headquarters
Dr. James F. GleasonProject ScientistNASA Goddard Space Flight
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