Skip to Main Content


NOAA-N mission graphic

NOAA Polar Operational Environmental Satellites N Series

Phase: Operating

Launch Date: May 20, 2005

Mission Project Home Page -

Program(s):GOES / POES

Pin it

NOAA-N (POES-N) launched May 20, 2005 and is the latest polar-orbiting satellite developed by NASA for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA-N collects information about Earth's atmosphere and environment to improve weather prediction and climate research across the globe.

NOAA-N is the 15th in a series of polar-orbiting satellites dating back to 1978. NOAA uses two satellites, a morning and afternoon satellite, to ensure every part of the Earth is observed at least twice every 12 hours.

Severe weather is monitored and reported to the National Weather Service which broadcasts the findings to the global community. With the early warning, effects of catastrophic weather events can be minimized.

NOAA-N also has instruments to support an international search-and-rescue program. The Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking System, called COPAS-SARSAT, transmits to ground stations the location of emergency beacons from ships, aircraft and people in distress around the world. The program, in place since 1982, has saved about 18,000 lives.

NOAA-N is the first in a series of polar-orbiting satellites to be part of a joint cooperation project with the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMESTAT).

NOAA-N' (NOAA-N prime”) will be the last in the series of TIROS ATN. NOAA-N' has a planned launch date of February 2009 from Vandenberg AFB, CA by a Delta II launch vehicle.

The spacecraft will continue to provide a polar-orbiting platform to support (1) environmental monitoring instruments for imaging and measuring the Earth's atmosphere, its surface, and cloud cover, including Earth radiation, atmospheric ozone, aerosol distribution, sea surface temperature, and vertical temperature and water profiles in the troposphere and stratosphere; (2) measurement of proton and electron flux at orbit altitude; (3) data collection from remote platforms; and (4) the Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking (SARSAT) system.

Additionally, NOAA-N' will be the fifth in the series of support dedicated microwave instruments for the generation of temperature, moisture, surface, and hydrological products in cloudy regions where visible and infrared (IR) instruments have decreased capability.