The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and 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, along with its ground processing. JPSS satellites, including the recently launched Soumi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (SNPP), will carry sensors designed to collect meteorological, oceanographic, climatological, and solar-geophysical observations of the earth, atmosphere, and space. The primary sensor for both SNPP and following JPSS missions is the Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) developed by Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems (SAS). The ground processing system for both the SNPP and JPSS missions is known as the Common Ground System (JPSS CGS), and consists of a Command, Control, and Communications Segment and the Interface Data Processing Segment, both developed by Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems (IIS). 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 (from 0.4 ìm to 14.4 ìm and at varying spatial resolutions - 250 m, 500 m and 1 km). MODIS data provides unprecedented insight into cloud and aerosol characteristics, surface emissivity and processes occurring in the oceans, on land, and in the lower atmosphere. MODIS has flown on the Terra satellite since 1999 and on the 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 environmental monitoring motivated development of an operational counterpart for the next-generation polar-orbiting environmental satellites, the Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). VIIRS combines the 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 POES and the high spatial resolution (0.75 km) of the Operational Linescan System (OLS) on DMSP. Except for bands designed for deriving vertical temperature and humidity structure in the atmosphere, VIIRS uses identical or very similar bands from MODIS that are the most useful to operational customers in NOAA, the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy. The development of VIIRS reaps the benefit of substantial investment in MODIS and the early development of operational algorithms using MODIS data. This presentation will cover the different aspects of transitioning a research system into an operational system. These aspects include: sensor operationalization, system performance operational factors, science changes to algorithms reflecting the operational performance factors, and the operationalization 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.
 J. Puschell, K. Grant, D.C. Smith, Operationalizing a Research Sensor: MODIS to VIIRS, IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society Conference, Munich, Germany, July, 2012.
 K. Grant, P. Smit, M. Mussetto, A Comparison Between AVHRR, MODIS, and VIIRS, EUMETSAT Conference, Oslo, Norway, September 2011.
 C. Snodgrass, J. McCarthy, D. Shannon, N. Andreas, K. Grant, B. Robinson, B. Guenther , VIIRS Sensor and EDR Performance Summary and Comparisons to Heritage, American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA, December 2010.