NASA has completed another major milestone on its journey to space and on Saturday launched a next-generation satellite into space designed to monitor weather around the world and help improve forecasts.
The American space agency has joined hands with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and introduced the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket as scheduled at 1:47 am (0947 GMT) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
It will orbit the Earth 14 times each day from one pole to the other at 512 miles (824 kilometers) above the planet, "providing scientists full global coverage twice a day," NASA said.
The satellite 'is the first in NOAA's series of four, next-generation operational environmental satellites representing major advancements in observations used for severe weather prediction and environmental monitoring," it said.
JPSS-1 "carries a suite of advanced instruments designed to take global measurements of atmospheric, land and sea conditions, from sea surface temperatures, volcanic ash, hurricane intensity and many more."
Four smaller satellites called CubeSats, part of NASA's educational nano-satellite program, are to be released on the same mission.
The CubeSats belong to four US universities and will be set in orbit after the weather satellite has been deployed, NASA was quoted in a statement.
Two previous launch attempts were canceled, once due to high winds and another due to technical problems.
(With PTI inputs)