National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Architecture
Edward Phillips, NPOESS , Silver Spring, MD; and M. Haas and C. Nelson
In the next decade, weather forecasters, climate researchers, and global decision-makers will rely on the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) to meet many of their needs for remotely-sensed, Earth science data and information. The NPOESS architecture has been designed as an end-to-end system to acquire, process, and deliver meteorological, oceanographic, terrestrial, climatological, and solar-geophysical observations of the Earth, atmosphere, and space to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Department of Defense (DoD) central processing facilities through an innovative global communications network that will provide significantly improved data latency over current systems. The system is comprised of sensors and spacecraft; launch segment; command, control, communications, and data routing; and ground processing and data distribution.
Beginning in 2013, NPOESS spacecraft and associated sensors will be launched into two different orbits (1330 local time ascending node – LTAN and 1730 LTAN) to provide significantly improved operational capabilities and benefits to satisfy civil and national security requirements for space-based, remotely sensed environmental data. The afternoon NPOESS spacecraft will carry advanced visible, infrared, and microwave imagers and sounders that will deliver higher spatial, spectral, and temporal resolution data enabling more accurate weather forecasts and warnings. The early morning orbit will provide visible, infrared, and microwave imagery for global cloud forecast models to support DoD's tactical decisions for air, sea, and ground operations. Both early-morning and afternoon spacecraft will also be equipped with data collection and search and rescue tracking systems.
The NPOESS design allows centralized mission management that will deliver high quality environmental products to military, civil and scientific users. A key feature of the NPOESS architecture is SafetyNetTM - a system of 15 globally distributed, unmanned ground stations that will collect up to five times as much environmental data from space approximately four times faster than current polar-orbiting weather satellites. Once collected, these data will be relayed near-instantaneously to four NOAA and DoD weather centers via a global fiber optic network for processing and production of data records for use in environmental prediction models and forecasts. The NPOESS ground system architecture is expected to deliver 95% of the data within 28 minutes from the time of collection on orbit. The NPOESS ground data processing systems at four U.S. centers must process a data volume nearly 1000 times the size of current systems in one-quarter of the time. These systems must also support calibration, validation, and quality improvement of data collected from NPOESS sensors to ensure the production of environmental products that meet strict requirements for accuracy and precision. NPOESS spacecraft will also simultaneously broadcast real-time data at high and low rates to suitably equipped field terminals worldwide. The NPOESS architecture will enable high-quality, space-based, remotely-sensed data to be used faster and more frequently in numerous civil, military, and scientific applications.
Joint Session 6, NPOESS/MetOp Overview and Status
Tuesday, 13 January 2009, 9:00 AM-9:45 AM, Room 224AB
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