Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS)

ars_thumb The Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) is the civilian component of the former joint civilian and military National Polar Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) program. NPOESS was to have developed, launched and operated a series of polar-orbiting sun-synchronous satellites, with associated ground systems, to monitor global environmental conditions, collecting and disseminating data products related to the atmosphere, the oceans, the land, the cryosphere and the near-earth space environment. After the separation of NPOESS into its civilian and military portions, the Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was given responsibility for the early afternoon (1:30 p.m. ascending node) orbit as JPSS. The Department of Defense, as the Defense Weather Satellite System (DWSS), was given responsibility for the early morning (5:30 a.m. descending node) orbit. Although the space assets for the two orbits were placed under the control of the separate JPSS and DWSS programs, the two programs continue to share the Common Ground System for satellite operation and data product processing. For JPSS, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is acting as the acquisition agent on behalf of NOAA. Initial JPSS and DWSS launches are expected in the 2016 and 2018 time frames, respectively.

The JPSS and DWSS data products will support weather forecasting for civilian and military applications, as well as many other operational environmental applications. Data and imagery obtained from JPSS and DWSS will increase the timeliness and accuracy of public warnings and forecasts of weather events, and will also contribute to the climate data record and climate research.

The NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) mission will be the first in-flight use of the sensors that will be subsequently flown on the first JPSS satellite (JPSS-1). As of May 5, 2011, the scheduled launch date for NPP is October 25, 2011.

Listed below are the instruments to be flown on NPP.

The baseline JPSS-1 instrument complement is the same, although that could change as the Federal budget evolves before and during Fiscal Year 2012.

The NPP satellite under development in a clean room at Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation. An earth-side view of the satellite is shown.

CPI has a small but key role in the development of the Integrated Data Processing Segment (IDPS) of the Common Ground System. As a subcontractor to Riverside Technology, Inc., CPI supported first the Data Products and Algorithms Division of the former NPOESS Integrated Program Office, and now supports, under the continuation of the same contract, the Data Products Engineering Group of the JPSS Program Office. CPI's top three contributions to NPOESS/JPSS have been: assisting in the program office's verification of the interfaces between the instruments and the ground data processing software; providing conceptual and technical leadership for the development of IDPS-specific software tools that make development, analysis and maintenance of IDPS algorithm codes much less expensive and time-consuming; providing conceptual and technical leadership for the integration of the IDPS software configuration management between the IDPS developer Raytheon Corp. and the government's science team and calibration-validation support contractors. In addition, under the NPOESS program, CPI, through its support contract to the Remote Sensing Division of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), helped develop alternative scientific data processing techniques for the OMPS Limb Profiler.

Currently three CPI staff support JPSS. Two are located at the JPSS program office in Lanham, Maryland, while one is located at the NOAA National Geophysical Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.

Because of its key role in software integration to support the IDPS, CPI expects to make a contribution in the future to DWSS as that program develops.