The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) was developed by Raytheon SAS for the NASA Earth Observing System (EOS) as a research instrument to capture data in 36 spectral bands, ranging in wavelength from 0.4 µm to 14.4 µm and at varying spatial resolutions (2 bands at 250 m, 5 bands at 500 m and 29 bands at 1 km). MODIS data provides unprecedented insight into large-scale Earth system science questions related to cloud and aerosol characteristics, surface emissivity and processes occurring in the oceans, on land, and in the lower atmosphere. MODIS has flown on the EOS Terra satellite since 1999 and on the EOS Aqua satellite since 2002 and provided excellent data for scientific research and operational use for more than a decade. The value of MODIS-derived products for operational environmental monitoring motivated development of an operational counterpart to MODIS for the next-generation polar-orbiting environmental satellites, the Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), now in production at SAS. VIIRS will combine the demonstrated high-value spectral coverage and radiometric accuracy of MODIS with the legacy spectral bands and radiometric accuracy of the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) currently being flown on the NOAA polar orbiters and the high spatial resolution (0.75 km) of the Operational Linescan System (OLS) flown on Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellites. Except for MODIS bands designed for deriving vertical temperature and humidity structure in the atmosphere, VIIRS uses identical or very similar bands from MODIS that have the most interest and usefulness to operational customers in NOAA, the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy.
The development of VIIRS and JPSS reaps the benefit of substantial US investment in MODIS and the NASA EOS and the early development of operational algorithms by NOAA and DoD using MODIS data. This presentation will cover the different aspects of transitioning a research system into an operational system (aka, ‘operationalizing'). These aspects include: (1) sensor (hardware & software) operationalization, (2) system performance operational factors, (3) science changes to algorithms reflecting the operational performance factors, and (4) the operationalization and incorporation of the science into a fully 24 x 7 production system, tasked with meeting stringent operational needs. Benefits of early operationalization are discussed along with suggested areas for improvement in this process that could benefit future work such as operationalizing Earth Science Decadal Survey missions.