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Proceedings Paper

The NASA Earth Science Flight Program: an update
Author(s): Steven P. Neeck
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Paper Abstract

Earth’s changing environment impacts every aspect of life on our planet and climate change has profound implications on society. Studying Earth as a single complex system is essential to understanding the causes and consequences of climate change and other global environmental concerns. NASA’s Earth Science Division (ESD) shapes an interdisciplinary view of Earth, exploring interactions among the atmosphere, oceans, ice sheets, land surface interior, and life itself. This enables scientists to measure global and climate changes and to inform decisions by government, other organizations, and people in the United States and around the world. The data collected and results generated are accessible to other agencies and organizations to improve the products and services they provide, including air quality indices, disaster prediction and response, agricultural yield projections, and aviation safety. ESD’s Flight Program provides the space based observing systems and infrastructure for mission operations and scientific data processing and distribution that support NASA’s Earth science research and modeling activities. The Flight Program currently has 21 operating Earth observing space missions, including the recently launched Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2), the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission, and the International Space Station (ISS) RapidSCAT and Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS) instruments. The ESD has 22 more missions and instruments planned for launch over the next decade. These include first and second tier missions from the 2007 Earth Science Decadal Survey, Climate Continuity missions and selected instruments to assure availability of key climate data sets, operational missions to ensure sustained land imaging provided by the Landsat system, and small-sized competitively selected orbital missions and instrument missions of opportunity belonging to the Earth Venture (EV) Program. Some examples are the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR), Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT), ICESat-2, SAGE III on ISS, Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow On (GRACE FO), Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO), Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS), ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS), and Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) Lidar missions. An overview of plans and current status will be presented.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 October 2015
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 9639, Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites XIX, 963907 (12 October 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2199919
Show Author Affiliations
Steven P. Neeck, NASA Headquarters (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9639:
Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites XIX
Roland Meynart; Steven P. Neeck; Haruhisa Shimoda, Editor(s)

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