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.

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: