The first spacecraft in the nation’s next generation of polar-orbiting satellites is set for launch in the pre-dawn hours Tuesday, and the mission has strong Boulder ties.

The Joint Polar Satellite System-1, or JPPS-1, was designed and built by Boulder’s Ball Aerospace, and once it enters polar orbit, it will be known as NOAA-20, feeding National Weather Service models for Boulder’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The first in a series of four planned satellites in the nation’s newest generation of polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite system, JPSS-1 had originally been slated for launch on Friday, but was rescheduled to take off on Tuesday to address a battery issue on the lift rocket’s flight termination system.

Its launch, aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II from Space Launch Complex-2W at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., is set for 2:47 a.m. MST Tuesday. The mission is a joint effort between NOAA and NASA.

Ball also built one of the five instruments on the spacecraft, the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite.

Scott Asbury, program director at Ball Aerospace and formerly the JPSS-1 program manager, is among the roughly 10 Ball personnel who will be at the launch site, while about another 10 from Ball plan to be at the NASA satellite operations facility in Suitland, Md.

“It’s always exciting to launch a satellite,” Asbury said Friday. “This program started seven years ago. It’s a complicated system that took a long time to design, build and test.

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