The National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project, or NPP, was launched on 28 October 2011 to collect and distribute remotely-sensed land, ocean, and atmospheric observations for the meteorological, oceanographic, terrestrial and global climate change communities. It aims to provide data continuity of these measurements from existing Earth-observing missions such as Aqua, Terra and Aura. The NPP satellite is the first in a series designed to provide critical data to improve short-term weather forecasts and increase understanding of long-term climate change.
On 24 January 2012 at the annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society in New Orleans, NASA has renamed its newest Earth-observing satellite in honor of the late Verner E. Suomi, a meteorologist at the University of Wisconsin who is recognized widely as "the father of satellite meteorology." The NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) then became the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite, or Suomi NPP (S-NPP).
S-NPP is a pilot mission for the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS), which is the next generation polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite system for the USA. Onboard the S-NPP satellite, there are five state-of-the-art instruments/sensors.
The JPSS-1 (NOAA-20) is the second mission in the JPSS series, which is scheduled to launch in the fourth quarter of 2017. For the rest of JPSS series, their schedules are also planned and can be found at the NOAA Launch-Schedule webpage.