6.5 Migration to Commercial Communications for Geostationary Services

Wednesday, 10 January 2018: 9:30 AM
Salon H (Hilton) (Austin, Texas)
Julian Breidenthal, JPL, Pasadena, CA; and R. Cesarone, K. M. Cheung, F. W. Gallagher III, K. St. Germain, and M. W. Maier

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) conducted a study, titled the NOAA Satellite Observing System Architecture (NSOSA) study, to plan for the next generation of weather satellites. This study provided an opportunity to design a modern architecture with no pre-conceived notions regarding instruments, platforms, orbits, etc., but driven by user needs. The NSOSA study team developed and evaluated approximately 100 architecture alternatives, including partner and commercial contributions that are likely to become available in the 2030-2050 timeframe. Within the context of the NSOSA study, we studied the set of communication services currently supplied by the existing NOAA geostationary satellites, to assess the feasibility of acquiring the services commercially. The existing services include GOES Rebroadcast (GRB), Data Collection Platform (DCP), High Rate Information Transfer (HRIT), Emergency Managers Weather Information Network (EMWIN), and Argos Data Collection System (A-DCS). For these services, we explored mission service needs, stakeholder concerns, and types of commercial architectures that could supply the needed services. We also surveyed commercial communications service providers that may be able to provide replacements for each of the existing services, including consideration of market trends associated with emerging, globally ubiquitous Internet businesses. We found that commercial replacements are technically viable for the majority of current communication services, in the sense of satisfying the existing service requirements at lower cost compared to our estimate of the cost of fielding equivalent systems under NOAA ownership. Applicable commercial solutions include: high data rate services provided through leased transponders or hosted payloads, and through commercial terrestrial Internet supported by content distribution network services; medium and low data rate services provided through fee-for-service arrangements based on satellite relays, possibly migrating to intra-atmospheric relays, or through use of excess dark fiber installations; and low rate messaging and geolocation, provided through fee-for-service arrangements based on satellite or cellular telephone. We also assessed the potential commercial solutions against the concerns of stakeholders associated with existing services, and identified services that are likely to be more easily transferred to commercial suppliers than would others.
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