With the development of NPOESS, we are evolving operational “weather” satellites into integrated environmental observing systems by expanding our capabilities to observe, assess, and predict the total Earth system - atmosphere, ocean, land, and the space environment. The higher resolution data from NPOESS will enable more accurate short-term weather forecasts and severe storm warnings. As one cornerstone of an Integrated Global Observing System, NPOESS will also provide sustained, space-based measurements to ensure continuity of data for monitoring, understanding, and predicting climate change and its impacts on seasonal and longer time scales.
NPOESS, comprised of the spacecraft, instruments and sensors on the spacecraft, the command, control and communications infrastructure, data processing software and hardware, and launch support capabilities, is scheduled for launch in 2009.
The NPOESS program also includes the NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP), a risk reduction mission managed jointly by the NPOESS Integrated Program Office (IPO) and NASA. It provides an opportunity for NPOESS to demonstrate and validate new sensors, algorithms, and operational processing capabilities, and to test many components of the system prior to the first NPOESS flight. NPP also provides continuity between the current Earth Observing System (EOS) and NPOESS for select remotely sensed data that support global climate studies and research. The NPP is scheduled for launch in the last quarter of 2006.