The nation’s newest polar-orbiting environmental satellite, NOAA-17, was
turned over to the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center on July 14.

NOAA-17, launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on June 24, will
improve weather and climate forecasting and monitor environmental events
around the world. It 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.

NOAA and NASA report that all post-launch spacecraft subsystem and
instrument deployments were successful. All instruments have been turned on
and detailed analysis of data from the entire spacecraft continues, with no
major anomalies identified. The on-orbit verification testing primarily
focused on instrument calibration will continue through approximately 45
days after launch. About 30 days after that, the satellite will be declared

“The NOAA-17 satellite is working beautifully,” said Karen Halterman, NASA’s
project manager for the polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite

“We’re extremely pleased with the success of the verification process, and
look forward to a successful mission for NOAA-17,” said Mike Mignogno,
NOAA’s polar program manager. “This success is due to the professionalism of
a large team of NASA, NOAA and contractor personnel.”

“The primary contractors are Lockheed Martin, ITT, Aerojet, Ball Aerospace,
Panametrics and L3 Communications,” Halterman said. “We also have
international partners from the U.K., France and Canada. All are to be
congratulated for their significant contributions in achieving our joint
goal of success for the NOAA-17 mission.”

NASA and NOAA engineers performed a series of over 100 on-orbit verification
tests since the launch to establish a satellite performance baseline
designed to characterize all aspects of instrument and spacecraft operation.
The resulting information provides NOAA with a database to support product
development and performance monitoring during the operational phase of the
mission. This same data provides NASA with valuable insight into overall
spacecraft subsystem and instrument interaction, so that enhancements and/or
ground test modifications may be applied, if appropriate, to later
satellites, NOAA-N, and N Prime.

The direct broadcast of Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer instrument
data is providing imagery to scientific, commercial and educational groups
throughout the world. Once NOAA-17 is fully operational, the search and
rescue instruments will continue to support a global community that has
established ground stations that “listen” for distress beacons relayed
through the NOAA polar and Russian COSPAS satellites.

For more than 40 years, NASA and NOAA have worked jointly to perfect,
develop and continue the polar-orbiting program. Goddard engineers are
responsible for the construction, integration, launch and verification
testing of the spacecraft, instruments and unique ground equipment.

NOAA is responsible for program funding and the on-orbit operation of the
multi-satellite system. NOAA also determines the need for satellite
replacement. NOAA designs, develops, installs and integrates the ground
system needed to acquire, process and disseminate the data from the sensors
on the satellites.

Data from the NOAA spacecraft are used by researchers within NASA’s Earth
Science Enterprise a long-term research program designed to study Earth’s
land, oceans atmosphere, ice and life as a total integrated system.

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