Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER) Contributes to Successful Completion of GOES-R Satellite Ground Segment Critical Design Review


  • New weather satellite system will significantly improve severe weather warning time.
  • Successful completion of the Critical Design Review (CDR) results in approval to begin the implementation phase.
  • AER and the Harris team completed the design review milestone on schedule and within budget.

Lexington, Mass., June 13, 2012 — As a member of the Harris team, Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER) has successfully completed the Critical Design Review and has been approved to begin implementation of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite – R Series (GOES-R) Ground Segment. Over the course of a 10-year contract, AER will design and construct software for the GOES-R Ground Segment, which will process approximately 60 times more data than is possible today and deliver weather products to the National Weather Service and more than 10,000 other direct users. AER, a Verisk Analytics company (Nasdaq:VRSK), conducts science-based research and development for government and business and provides weather and environmental risk management products and services for industries affected by risks from natural hazards.

The Critical Design Review (CDR) is a formal technical review of the detailed design of the Ground Segment and how it will operate within the overall GOES-R system. The Ground Segment encompasses receiving and processing of satellite data, generating and distributing of products from satellite data, and command and control of operational satellites. Successful completion of the CDR establishes a firm design baseline for advancing to the implementation phase of the program. It is the culmination of more than 70 software and hardware design reviews, as well as operational reviews of the mission management, product generation, product distribution, enterprise management and infrastructure capabilities.

Today's GOES satellites provide the familiar images and time-lapse sequences used in television weather forecasts. They are one of the primary tools used by NOAA to detect and track hurricanes, thunderstorms, tornadoes and other severe weather in the continental U.S. and western hemisphere. The next-generation GOES-R system will provide significant improvements over the current GOES satellites. It will feature improved image resolution and will increase the rate of imagery coverage of the Earth’s surface from every 30 minutes to every five minutes in normal conditions — and every 30 seconds during severe weather events. In addition, the GOES-R system will provide a new capability for the continuous monitoring of all (in-cloud and cloud-to-ground) lightning activity, providing increased warning lead time for severe storms and tornadoes.

“This is a major milestone for AER and the GOES-R program as a whole. It’s the culmination of many months of team effort,” said Dr. Hilary (“Ned”) Snell, AER’s GOES‐R program manager and vice president of the GOES‐R Division. “We’re well on our way to developing and delivering high-quality software for implementation within the overall Harris data processing architecture.”

A recognized leader in satellite ground data processing, AER is implementing the science software to produce 30 environmental products using the down-linked data from GOES-R’s suite of satellite-based remote sensing and in situ sensors. AER is also providing support for systems engineering, architecture design, modeling and simulation, and operations and maintenance.

Leveraging 30+ years of remote sensing and software engineering expertise, AER leads the transition of the environmental product algorithms from government-provided scientific descriptions to fully-tested 24/7/365 operational software ready for integration into the GOES-R Product Generation environment. This software is designed to provide all calibrated imagery and radiometric data (Level 1b products) from the six GOES-R sensors as well as all the GOES-R geophysical data (Level 2+ products such cloud properties, hurricane intensity estimation, and volcanic ash detection).

“This milestone establishes the detailed design of the Ground Segment, including hardware, software and operations designs,” said Ray Thorpe, vice president, GOES-R programs, Harris Government Communications Systems.
As a member of the Harris GOES-R Ground Segment team, Atmospheric and Environmental Research is providing algorithms for integration into a service-based open-architecture solution that will accommodate the exponential increase in data to be taken in, processed, and distributed to thousands of direct users. Other members of the Harris GOES-R Ground Segment team include Boeing Mission Systems, Carr Astronautics, Honeywell Technology Solutions Inc., Wyle Information Systems LLC, and Applied Research and Engineering Sciences.
About Atmospheric and Environmental Research

Atmospheric and Environmental Research helps businesses and government anticipate and manage risks from natural hazards, climate, and weather. Government agencies like NOAA, NASA, and the Departments of Defense and Energy rely on AER’s scientists to help solve weather- and climate-related problems of vital national importance in energy, environment, national security, and climate change. Large insurance, energy, and investment firms count on AER to help them decrease weather-related losses and increase profitability by integrating state-of-the-art climate science and weather information into their planning and decision processes. Established in 1977, AER is headquartered in Lexington, Massachusetts, and is a member of the Verisk Analytics Family of Companies. Please visit /.