JPSS CGS C3 Segment McMurdo Multimission Communications System

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Wednesday, 26 January 2011
JPSS CGS C3 Segment McMurdo Multimission Communications System
Washington State Convention Center
Joseph Paciaroni, Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems, Aurora, CO; and C. Higgins and M. L. Jamilkowski

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are jointly acquiring the next-generation civilian weather and environmental satellite system: the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS). JPSS will contribute the afternoon orbit component and ground processing system of the restructured National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS). As such, JPSS replaces the current Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites (POES) managed by NOAA and the ground processing component of both POES and the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) replacement, known as the Defense Weather Satellite System (DWSS), managed by the Department of Defense (DoD). The JPSS satellites will carry a suite of sensors designed to collect meteorological, oceanographic, climatological, and solar-geophysical observations of the earth, atmosphere, and space. The command and data distribution portion of the JPSS Common Ground System (JPSS CGS) is the Command, Control and Communications Segment (C3S), developed by Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems (IIS). C3S is responsible for managing the overall JPSS and DWSS missions from control and status of the space and ground assets to ensuring delivery of timely, high quality data from the Space Segments (SS) to the Interface Data Processing Segment (IDPS) for processing. One of the key features of the data delivery system provided by C3S is the Distributed Receptor Network (DRN). The DRN consists of 15 globally-distributed ground receptors developed by Raytheon Company. These receptors or antennae will collect up to five times as much environmental data approximately four times faster than current polar-orbiting weather satellites. Once collected, these data will be forwarded nearly instantaneously to U.S. weather centrals via the global fiber optic network for processing and production of data records for use in environmental prediction models.

One of the more significant DRN receptor sites, due to its high latitude, is located at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. C3S has been working in conjunction with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to upgrade and expand the existing off-continent satellite communications (SATCOM) link at McMurdo Station. The upgrade will provide 60 Mbps of bandwidth outbound from McMurdo and 20 Mbps of bandwidth inbound to those missions utilizing McMurdo. The first major milestone of the upgrade was completed in 2008, which increased the existing bandwidth of 3 Mbps to and from Antarctica to 10 Mbps of bandwidth for each direction. In addition to the bandwidth increase over the SATCOM, Raytheon's C3S is also in the process of upgrading the network infrastructure at both McMurdo Station and at the SATCOM site located at Belrose Earth Station, Australia. The new infrastructure will provide routing support for several missions, as well as provide expansion capabilities to support future missions that wish to use McMurdo. The upgrade is scheduled for completion in early 2011 in preparation for the use of McMurdo Station to support new “multimission” downlink capabilities, called the McMurdo Multimission Communications System (MMCS).

The significant increase of the available bandwidth to and from McMurdo allows additional Polar-Orbiting environmental and weather satellite systems to use McMurdo Station as a second downlink site. Two additional missions, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites' (EUMETSAT) Meteorological Operational (Metop) polar system and the NOAA-operated Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP), are planning to exploit the high-latitude location of McMurdo and the communications bandwidth increase to downlink their mission data to McMurdo. The existing NASA McMurdo Ground Stations (MGS) antenna will be used to support the EUMETSAT mission. The future JPSS CGS Receptor antennas at McMurdo will become dual-band antennas by altering the antenna feed to receive not only a Ka-Band downlinked from the JPSS and DWSS spacecraft, but also an S-Band downlink from the DMSP spacecraft.

Once the data are received at McMurdo Station, the existing communication system's upgrade provided by C3S will support the routing and distribution of data from Antarctica and to each mission's processing facility by the JPSS CGS Wide Area Network (WAN). The network infrastructure will provide the ability to share, shape, and accelerate the SATCOM capacity by allocating each mission a minimum and maximum allowed bandwidth. The acceleration across the SATCOM link allows each mission's bandwidth utilization to vary based on the link usage and each mission's requirements. The flexibility provided by the sharing, shaping, and acceleration ultimately allows the SATCOM link to accommodate more missions compared to static bandwidth allocations to each individual mission. Each mission will experience a reduction in latency from collection on the spacecraft to distribution to the user community due to the use of the second downlink site and the sharing configuration on the SATCOM link.