759 Managed and Supported Environmental Missions in the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) Common Ground System (CGS)

Wednesday, 13 January 2016
Michael Jamilkowski, Col USAF Ret and AMS Fellow, Silver Spring, MD; and K. Grant and S. W. Miller


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are jointly acquiring the next-generation civilian operational 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 will replace the current Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites (POES) managed by NOAA and the POES ground processing component. The Joint Polar Satellite System satellites will carry a suite of sensors designed to collect meteorological, oceanographic, land surface and climatological observations of the earth and the atmosphere. The ground processing system for JPSS is known as the JPSS Common Ground System (JPSS CGS), and consists of a Command, Control, and Communications Segment (C3S) and an Interface Data Processing Segment (IDPS). Both segments are developed by Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services (IIS). The C3S currently flies the Suomi National Polar Partnership (Suomi-NPP) satellite and transfers mission data from Suomi-NPP and between the ground facilities. The IDPS processes Suomi-NPP satellite data to provide Environmental Data Records (EDRs) to NOAA processing centers operated by the United States government. As of May 2014, S-NPP replaced the last POES satellite as NOAA's primary operational polar-orbiting mission in the early afternoon orbit. When the JPSS-1 satellite is launched in early 2017, the responsibilities of the C3S and the IDPS will be expanded to support both Suomi-NPP and JPSS-1.

The JPSS CGS currently provides data processing for Suomi-NPP, generating multiple terabytes per day across over two dozen environmental data products -- that workload will be multiplied by two when the JPSS-1 satellite is launched. But the CGS goes well beyond mission management and data processing for the Suomi NPP and JPSS missions. The CGS also provides data routing support to operational centers and missions across the globe.


The multimission capabilities of the CGS facilitate support to an array of missions beside S-NPP and JPSS. The CGS also provides raw data acquisition, routing and processing for GCOM-W1 to support further processing by NOAA. The CGS provides data routing for numerous other missions, systems and organizations, including USN's Coriolis/Windsat, NASA's Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) network (including the Earth Observation System, or EOS, and LandSat), National Science Foundation's (NSF's) McMurdo Station communications, the DoD's Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP), and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT's) Meteorological Operational Satellites (Metop). For the satellite systems previously listed, each orbits the Earth 14 times a day, downlinking mission data once or twice per orbit at up to hundreds of megabits per second, to support the generation of tens of terabytes per day across hundreds of environmental data products.

Raytheon and the government have invested a significant amount in Raytheon's suite of mission management, command & control and data processing products and capabilities. The CGS's flexible, multimission capabilities offer significant opportunities for cost reduction and improved information integration across missions. Raytheon has a unique ability to provide complex, highly secure, multi-mission ground systems. As disaggregation, hosted CGS Multi-mission payloads, and other space architecture trades are implemented and new sensors come on line that collect orders of magnitude more data, the importance of a flexible, expandable, virtualized modern ground system architecture increases. The CGS offers that solution support.


The Command, Control and Communications Segment (C3S) manages the operational mission, including mission planning, satellite command & control, global communications networks, enterprise management, situational awareness, anomaly resolution, system security, and reliable delivery of data to and from central users. The JPSS CGS Mission Management Center (MMC), at the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility (NSOF) in Suitland MD, provides accurate, high performance tools that precisely manage CGS supported missions. The C3S tools give crews keen insight, comprehensive operational oversight, detailed mission planning capability, full control of space and ground assets, continuous monitoring and assessment of overall system performance. A temporary MMC at Raytheon's Aurora CO facility provides a stop-gap capability until NOAA's back-up MMC can be completed at the Consolidated Backup (CBU) facility in Fairmont WV.

The Interface Data Processing Segment (IDPS) features high speed, symmetric, multi-processing computers that rapidly convert large streams of environmental sensor data at 100 times the legacy data volume, providing numerous Environmental Data Records to the weather Centrals. The Environmental Data Records detail cloud coverage, temperature, humidity and ozone distribution, as well as snow cover, vegetation, sea surface temperatures, aerosols, space environment and earth radiation budget information. This wealth of information enables numerous users to monitor and predict changes in weather, climate, and ocean conditions.


The CGS:

Supports five global ground stations that can receive Suomi-NPP and/or JPSS-1 mission data. These ground stations, linked with high-bandwidth commercial fiber, can rapidly transport the data to the IDPS for environmental data product generation and delivery.

Processes and delivers data to the operational users in the United States in less than 80 minutes from the time of collection for JPSS-1.

Leverages the fiber network for Suomi-NPP and JPSS-1 to additionally provide data routing for a wide array of missions on a global scale.


The JPSS CGS is a mature, tested solution for supporting operational weather and storm forecasting for civil, military, and international partners as well as climate research. It features a flexible design that handles order-of-magnitude increases in data over legacy satellite ground systems volumes and meets demanding science accuracy requirements. The Raytheon-built JPSS CGS provides the full JPSS common ground capability, from design and development through operations and sustainment. These features lay the foundation for the future evolution of the CGS to support additional missions.

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