Home Ground Systems POES 

Project: POES Ground System
Project Status: Green project status button. Project Status Key
NOAA Mission Goal: Weather & Water, Commerce & Transportation
Project Manager: Kirk Liang, OSD Ground Systems Division

Project Stage:

Operations/Sustaining Engineering project stage

Project Description: The NOAA Polar Ground System (PGS) receives telemetry and science data from a large array of Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellites. In addition, the PGS controls the LEO set of satellites using various commanding schemes. Through the Initial Joint Polar-orbiting System (IJPS) agreement, data from instruments flown aboard Eumetsat’s MetOp satellite series are also handled through the NOAA PGS. In addition, the PGS collects data from various non-NOAA satellites such as the NASA Earth Observing System (EOS), FORMOSAT-3/Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere & Climate (COSMIC), Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT), Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS), Tropical Rainfall Measurement System (TRMM), and WindSat (Coriolis).

Instruments that are carried aboard the satellites mentioned above perform measurements of temperature and humidity in the Earth's atmosphere, land surface temperature, cloud cover, water-ice boundaries, ocean primary productivity, sea surface temperature and height, surface vegetation, surface marine wind vectors, greenhouse gases, and proton and electron flux near the Earth. The POES satellites also have a capability, via their on-board ARGOS system, of receiving, processing, and retransmitting data from weather balloons, buoys, and remote automatic data collection stations distributed around the world. In addition, the POES satellites have an onboard Search and Rescue (SAR) transponder and processor for receiving transmissions from people in distress.

The PGS is comprised of the Satellite Operations Control Center (SOCC) and the Environmental Satellite Processing Center (ESPC) located at the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility (NSOF) in Suitland, Maryland, and the NOAA Command and Data Acquisition Stations (CDAS) at Fairbanks, Alaska (FCDAS), and Wallops, Virginia (WCDAS). Command and data acquisition control of the polar-orbiting and geostationary operational satellites is conducted from the SOCC, through communications links with the ground system facilities at the CDAS.

At SOCC, the automated features of polar-orbiting system operations are supported by the Polar Acquisition and Control Subsystem (PACS) command, control, and communications (C3) system for POES, the Integrated Polar Acquisition and Control Subsystem (IPACS) command, control, and communications (C3) system for DMSP, and the Jason-2 Telemetry, Command, and Communications System for Jason-2. All are computer based systems that perform the processing and display of spacecraft health and safety telemetry for operator monitoring, and generates commands for control of spacecraft subsystems. The ground systems at the FCDAS and WCDAS consist of the following subsystems: 1) antenna, 2) RF, 3) Command Transmission, 4) Data Handling, and 5) PACS (for POES support only).

The output of the processes described above is then routed to the ESPC for further processing. This includes the creation of calibrated and navigated radiance data sets for all instruments to be used as input into operational science algorithms delivered to ESPC by The Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR). Orbital and global composites of the geophysical parameters mentioned earlier are generated in near real-time and in various formats and map projections for use by the National Weather Service (NWS) Forecast Offices and as input into the regional and global forecast models run by the NWS National Centers for Environmental prediction (NCEP). ESPC disseminates the processed satellite imagery and products to federal and international agencies and the public through various communications channels including the Global Telecommunications System (GTS), the Satellite Broadcast Network (SBN), also referred to as (NOAAPORT), dedicated high speed lines, and the Internet.

GSD works with its organizational partners (primarily OSO and OSDPD) to plan and execute ground system changes required to support new and/or modified instruments, to acquire more satellite passes and reduce data latency, and to incorporate the latest technological advances in achieving a more robust, highly secure system with enhanced functional and performance capabilities.  The new satellites have a larger command memory, which requires changes to the ground software used to simulate the satellite, generate loads, and verify the proper operation of the satellite. It is envisioned that the sustaining engineering of the POES ground system will continue through the 2016 time frame, at which time the next generation Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) will replace the legacy NOAA POES satellites.


13-meter tracking antenna. Artist Rendition of NOAA POES Satellite Hurricane Isabel

Additional Information: