A recent NOAA study investigated numerous alternatives for its operational constellation of weather satellites in the 2030 era. The study identified key options for orbits and levels of performance.


Between 2014 and 2018 the NOAA Office of Systems Architecture and Advanced Planning (OSAAP) conducted the NOAA Satellite Observing System Architecture (NSOSA) study, to plan the long-term future of the NOAA constellation of operational environmental satellites. This constellation of satellites (which may include space capabilities acquired in lieu of U.S. government satellites) will follow the current GOES-R and JPSS satellite programs, beginning about 2030. This was 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. In this paper we describe how the study was structured, review major results, show how observation priorities and estimated costs drove next generation choices, and discuss important challenges for implementing the next generation of U.S. civil environmental remote sensing satellites.

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