NPP Satellite Gets New Name

NPP Satellite Gets New Name

NASA has renamed its NPP earth observing satellite in honor of the father of satellite meteorology, Verner Suomi. 

Until now “NPP” has stood for the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project.   The tri-agency NPOESS project for which it was preparing, however, was cancelled in 2010.

Launched in October 2011, NPP is being repurposed to not only test new sensors for environmental monitoring of the Earth as originally planned, but to serve as an operational component of the nation’s civilian weather satellite system.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) operates that system.

The new name, Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership, or Suomi NPP — honors Dr. Suomi as well as the partnership among NASA, NOAA, the Department of Defense, the private sector, and academic researchers according to NASA’s Earth Science Division Director Michael Freilich. 

Dr. Suomi founded the Space Science and Engineering Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1965 and received the National Medal of Science in 1977.  He died in 1995 and is remembered as a pioneer in using polar-orbiting and geostationary satellites for weather observations.

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