NASA has launched a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket on Saturday carrying a Joint Polar Satellite System-1 satellite, or JPSS-1, the first in a series of next-generation satellites that NASA said will help provide enhanced accuracy in forecasting environmental events such as weather, forest fires and droughts.

The satellite was launched for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Southern California at approximately 1:45 AM local time (0945GMT).

NASA said on its website that the series of satellites are designed to “give environmental experts more accurate warnings in advance of hurricanes, tornadoes and blizzards.”