NOAA has conducted a study, the NOAA Satellite Observing System Architecture (NSOSA) study, to plan for the future operational environmental satellite system that will follow GOES-R and JPSS, beginning about 2030. This is an opportunity to design a modern architecture with no pre-conceived notions regarding instruments, platforms, orbits, etc., but driven by user needs, new technology, and exploiting emerging space business models. The NSOSA study team has developed and evaluated nearly 100 architecture alternatives, to include partner and commercial contributions that are likely to become available. The measurement objectives include both functional needs and strategic characteristics (e.g., resiliency, flexibility, responsiveness, sustainability). The study is being informed by the Space Platform Requirements Working Group (SPRWG), commissioned by NESDIS. The SPRWG has been charged with assessing new or existing user needs and is providing relative impacts from different candidate observing systems. The SPRWG results are serving as input to the process for new foundational (Level 0 and Level 1) requirements for the next generation of NOAA satellites that follow the GOES-R, JPSS, DSCOVR, Jason-3, and COSMIC-2 missions.
This paper will describe the four primary legs of the study: Value model development with the SPRWG and internal groups, future instrument catalog development, configuration and constellation design, and integration. The value modeling discussion will include the primary model based on projected environmental data collection needs in 2030-2040 as well as exploration of alternatives based on mission models. The instrument catalog contains a comprehensive collection of concepts for terrestrial and space weather observation instruments exploiting technology projected to be available circa 2030. As part of the study the team carried out conceptual design of around 50 specific satellite concepts, including geostationary, small and large LEO, and solar orbiting systems. As part of integration we will show the efficient frontier for weather satellite constellations, preferred alternatives, and construction of building-block satellite architectures.