The NOAA/NASA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite, built by Ball Aerospace, was launched five years ago on Oct. 28, 2011. Since then, Suomi NPP has provided life-saving data to weather forecasters and has given scientists new tools to help monitor the health of our planet.

“Suomi NPP is the result of Ball’s deep expertise in environmental satellite technology development, and we are proud of its contributions to NASA/NOAA missions,” said Rob Strain, president, Ball Aerospace. “We built Suomi NPP from our Ball Configurable Platform spacecraft line, which consists of satellites designed to meet a wide variety of mission requirements, from smallsats with plug-and-play interfaces to fully customizable large spacecraft for deep space missions.”

Since launch, data availability from the Suomi NPP spacecraft stands at an impressive 99.75 percent. In addition to providing global three-dimensional temperature and humidity information for the National Weather Service and Department of Defense, Suomi NPP measures cloud properties, measures and monitors the protective layer of stratospheric ozone, images sea ice, captures the Earth’s changing vegetation, and tracks wildfires with high detail and accuracy, providing environmental intelligence for decision makers in government and industry and to the general public. NASA uses Suomi NPP data to study long-term climate trends by extending the more than 30-year satellite data record.

The satellite is the primary operational polar-orbiting spacecraft for NOAA’s critical environmental forecasting mission. Suomi NPP’s advanced imagery of clouds, ocean surface, land features and other physical parameters is key data for civilian and government forecasters. Precise observations from the satellite are helping improve the accuracy and extend the range of global weather forecasts three to seven days in advance of significant weather events, including hurricanes and winter storms.

In addition to contributing vital information for global weather forecasts and outlooks for severe weather, Suomi NPP supports search and rescue operations, disaster response preparations, military operations and environmental monitoring.

Ball Aerospace designed and built the Suomi NPP spacecraft in collaboration with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and was responsible for integrating the instruments and for performing satellite-level testing and launch support. Ball also designed and built one of Suomi NPP’s five instruments, the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS).

Ball is building the next generation weather spacecraft, the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1), due to be launched in 2017. JPSS-1 will carry improved versions of the five instruments on the Suomi NPP satellite, including another Ball-built OMPS instrument.

Ball Aerospace pioneers discoveries that enable our customers to perform beyond expectation and protect what matters most.  We create innovative space solutions, enable more accurate weather forecasts, drive insightful observations of our planet, deliver actionable data and intelligence, and ensure those who defend our freedom go forward bravely and return home safely. For more information, visit or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Ball Corporation (BLL) supplies innovative, sustainable packaging solutions for beverage, food and household products customers, as well as aerospace and other technologies and services primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corporation and its subsidiaries employ 18,700 people worldwide and pro forma 2015 net sales were $11.0 billion. For more information, visit, or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.