With East, West and the Center satellites, NOAA suggests potential geostationary constellations

Space

The National Satellite, Data and Information Service of NOAA propose that 3 satellites in the satellite constellation that will adopt the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R Series (GOES-R) fly over the United States. In addition, NOAA proposes positioning the third spaceship over the center of the U.S. to run satellites in orbits close to those of the existing GOES-East as well as GOES-West satellites, Pam Sullivan, who works at GOES-R system as a program director, said at the January 11 virtual meeting of the American Meteorological Society.

NOAA previously proposed adding a high-inclination Tundra orbit to the constellation it is developing to replace GOES-R, which it calls the new constellation Geostationary and Expanded Observations (Geo-XO) (Geo-XO). “We actually looked at Tundra as an alternative,” added Dan Lindsey, who works at Center for Satellite Applications and Research of NOAA as a research scientist. “We were looking at the benefit as well as cost. The benefit and cost did not make the cut exactly right. Although current geostationary satellites are restricted in their capacity to explore higher latitudes, NOAA collects useful data on the polar-orbiting satellites in the area.”

“NOAA now has two satellites in the polar orbit, and there could be three if the Suomi NPP actually works,” stated William Sjoberg, the senior systems engineer of the NOAA Joint Polar Satellite System, in the chatbox at American Meteorological Society conference during Geo-XO session. Moreover, he mentioned that Eumetsat, Japan, as well as other nations in Europe exchange data that they obtain with the polar orbiters. Sjoberg said, “A Tundra orbit has actual worth, but it also has to wait.”

To gain space-based measurements of the Arctic, NOAA is contemplating partnering with Canadian agencies. “That is actually under consideration, but it is not decided,” Sullivan stated. None of this is final. Sullivan added, “We are almost at the beginning of the Geo-XO.” “Before we call this formal, we have several gates to go through.” After spending the past year holding seminars, panel meetings, and assessing dozens of its data consumers, the organization has established its observational goals for Geo-XO.

“The tools for space weather are part of a different program for space weather,” Sullivan stated. “Where they have the intentions to fly their devices will be determined by the software. We assume that they will request us to handle these very same space weather devices on the Geo-XO which were on the GOES-R.” Sullivan said that the Geo-XO program is likely to bring upgraded models of in-situ space weather as well as solar observation devices installed on GOES-R satellites. Since correcting for inflation, the total lifecycle expense of the Geo-XO constellation is expected to be equal to the $12 billion NOAA expended on the overall GOES-R project from the initial preparation that started in 2001 to the timeline of the actual operation.

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