One last pre-launch stretch for JPSS-2 solar array
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It was a moment seven years in the making. While a crowd of team members looked on, a crew of engineers at a Northrop Grumman facility in Gilbert, Arizona performed the final major test of the JPSS-2 spacecraft before it departs for Vandenberg Space Force Base ahead of its planned November launch. After a series of loud bangs indicating the satellite’s solar array was free to extend, the accordion-like set of 2,000 solar cells stretched out 50 feet from the satellite and locked into place.
The satellite, to be renamed NOAA-21 upon reaching orbit, will continue the work of its predecessors NOAA-20 (formerly known as JPSS-1) and the NOAA-NASA Suomi-NPP. JPSS-2 will scan our planet as it orbits from the North to the South Pole, crossing the equator 14 times a day. From 512 miles above Earth, it will capture data that inform weather forecasts and provide important information on extreme weather events and climate change.
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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center