California night owls got to see an amazing streak of light zip across the sky early Friday morning.
It was a weather satellite on it’s way to space to collect data on both long-term climate change and short-term weather conditions.
Airmen at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California launched the Delta II rocket carrying NASA’s NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) satellite from Space Launch Complex-2W at 2:48 a.m. PDT today.
NPP, an Earth-observing satellite, represents a critical first step in building the next-generation of U.S. polar-orbiting climate and weather monitoring spacecraft. NPP is the bridge between NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS) satellites and the forthcoming series of Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) satellites. The mission will test key technologies and instruments for the JPSS missions.
See www.nasa.gov/NPP for updates on post-launch NPP mission status.
Today’s launch is the last scheduled for 2011 from Vandenberg.
And don’t sweat it if you missed it, because you can see it here …
(Information from Vandenberg AFB public affairs)