NOAA 2002-079
Contact: Pat Viets
NOAA News Releases 2002
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A new NOAA satellite that will improve weather forecasting and monitor environmental events around the world soared into space this morning during a picture-perfect joint NOAA-NASA launch. The NOAA-M spacecraft, or NOAA-17 now that it is in orbit, lifted off on an Air Force-launched Titan II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., today. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is an agency of the Department of Commerce.

Controllers successfully verified deployment of the solar array and a power-positive condition on the satellite. NOAA-17 is the third in a series of five polar-orbiting satellites with improved imaging and sounding capabilities that will operate over the next 10 years.

"We're extremely pleased with the success of the launch," said VADM Conrad Lautenbacher, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "We look forward to the contribution NOAA-17 will bring to our global environmental observing system. It will perform functions critical to virtually all of our missions such as weather, climate, oceans, fisheries and ecosystem monitoring."

Like other NOAA satellites, NOAA-17 will collect meteorological data and transmit the information to users around the world to enhance weather forecasting. In the United States, the data will be used by NOAA's National Weather Service for its long-range weather and climate forecasts, and many other users of environmental data and products around the world.

NOAA-M was built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., Sunnyvale, Calif., and launched for NOAA under technical guidance and project management by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. NASA will turn operational control of the NOAA-17 spacecraft over to NOAA 21 days after launch. NASA's comprehensive on-orbit verification period is expected to last until approximately 45 days after launch.

For more information about NOAA-M and the polar orbiting satellites, see: and