A satellite intended to improve weather forecasting and an experimental inflatable heat shield to protect spacecraft entering atmospheres were launched into space from California on Thursday.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the Joint Polar Satellite System-2 satellite and the NASA test payload lifted off at 1:49 a.m. from Vandenberg Space Force Base.
Developed for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, JPSS-2 was placed into an orbit that circles the Earth from pole to pole.
NASA said there was no immediate data confirming deployment of the satellite’s electricity-producing solar array, but late in the day the space agency announced that it was fully extended.
“The operations team will continue to evaluate an earlier solar array deployment issue, but at this time, the satellite is healthy and operating as expected.
The team has resumed normal activities for the JPSS-2 mission,” a NASA statement said.