Potential for Small Satellite Use in NOAA’s Operational Polar Program

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CONFERENCE: AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites

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Cotter, Daniel; Durham, Anthony
article description
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) manages operational satellite systems for the remote sensing of the Earth System, including the Polar-orbiting operational Environmental Satellite (POES) system. A new configuration of the POES system will be introduced about 1998. Small satellite technology is being investigated by NOAA as a supplement for the future POES system. The baseline payload for the new POES configuration is known and under development. Candidate payload additions are also known. Both payload categories are described. NOAA perceives POES mission advantages as being associated with the use of small satellites in the future system. These advantages, and possible roles for small satellites in POES, are discussed. NOAA is in the early period of its evaluation of small satellite use in its systems. To date, this includes: conducting a general study to establish small satellite options and costs at the order of magnitude level; investigating the technical advantages of transferring the Search and Rescue mission to small satellites; and starting the technical and programmatic review of the possibilities of a small satellite mission for collecting warning data about the onset of geomagnetic storms. These and other evaluations are reported. NOAA's plans and schedules for developing the next-generation POES system, and reaching decisions on small satellite use, are presented.