On October 28, 2011 the most advanced weather satellite ever to be developed was launched. The vehicle, NASA's National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project or NPP is the first mission designed to collect critical data to improve weather forecasts in the short-term and increase our understanding of long-term climate change. The data, estimated to be at the terabyte level will end up in a massive electronic library worked on by a high tech staff in West Virginia and around the nation. The environmental data system is called the Comprehensive Large Array-data Stewardship System or CLASS.
More than 70 software developers and engineers support the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) project in Fairmont and several other locations around the nation. According to Don Mack, the President of the prime contractor Diversified Global Partners (DGP) and NOAA/CLASS Project Manager; when NPP flies it will be the first of a series of satellites that will replace an aging fleet to provide the scientific community with the data that will make major contributions to improved weather and climate forecasting as well as climate science.
"We have and will be experiencing large volumes of data from this first of a series of next generation polar orbiting weather satellites that are several orders of magnitude greater than today," explained Mr. Mack. "We are not only the archive; we are the only distributor of the NPP data to NASA and other NOAA science teams."
The CLASS program supports the mission of the NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service to archive and disseminate environmental data. The development of CLASS is a long term, evolutionary process that incorporates current and new environmental data into the CLASS architecture. Since 2001, Global Science & Technology has been supporting the NOAA/CLASS mission by providing highly effective, secure and reliable computing and telecommunications resources, while also identifying methods for applying information technology to improve mission performance and reduce total program costs. Global Science & Technology is now part of a joint venture known as Diversified Global Partners JV LLC that is jointly owned with partner DB Consulting Group Inc. DGP was awarded the NOAA CLASS contract in 2008. The contract has a maximum ordering value of $200 million over the potential nine-year period of performance.
NPP's five science instruments, including four new state-of-the-art sensors, will provide scientists with data to extend more than 30 key long-term datasets. These records, which range from the ozone layer and land cover to atmospheric temperatures and ice cover, are critical for global change science.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center manages the NPP mission for the Earth Science Division of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. NOAA will provide operational support for the mission.
The DGP CLASS GST Fairmont site is a key component to the planning, design, development and testing of the NOAA CLASS project. The DGP NOAA/CLASS team consists of the Joint Venture partners DB Consulting Group Inc and Global Science & Technology Inc. and subcontractors Computer Sciences Corporation, Operational Systems Inc and SM Resources Corporation.
For more information, please contact Vice President of Technical Programs Chris Moren: e-mail at: Chris.Moren@gst.com.
The vast CLASS data-storehouse now holds approximately 24 million archived files and is growing daily. Current data holdings are over 2 petabytes. NPP will increase holdings at a rate of over 1 petabyte per year. Currently planned missions will bring CLASS holdings to over 20 petabytes by 2018. . The archive contains weather observations that reach as far back as the 1890s.Currently, the team performs software design, development and testing activities for NOAA/CLASS in Fairmont, WV; Boulder, CO; Asheville, NC and Greenbelt and Suitland, MD.
About NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP)
The launch of a new polar-orbiting environmental satellite enables NOAA to continue issuing accurate forecasts and provide advance warning for severe weather, such as deadly tornado outbreaks, blistering heat waves, floods, snowfall and wildfires. The satellite, NASA's NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP), orbits Earth every 102 minutes, fly's 512 miles above the surface, and captures data from the Earth's land, oceans, and atmosphere. The data is used by NOAA forecasters to detect the potential for dangerous weather conditions days – even several weeks – in advance.