BackForward Satellite Programme: Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite 

Programme details
Programme description
  • Two-satellite programme for polar ice observation.  The 2nd one part of the NASA Earth Science Decadal Survey.
  • USA programme: NASA responsible of development and operations.
  • The platforms are actively stabilised over 3 axes.
  • The design life time of the satellites is 5 years.
  • The satellites exploit a high-inclination drifting orbit.
  • There was no replacement policy; the second flight unit required a specific decision, thus a gap of continuity occurred.
  • See detailed description at
Data circulation
  • Data are downlinked in real time to a network of high-latitude ground stations: Svalbard, Poker Flat (Alaska), McMurdo (Antarctica),  Wallops, (Virginia).
  • Data processing at the EOS Data Operations System (EDOS), data service managed by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSDIC) of the University of Colorado at Boulder. 
Agencies NASA
Programme lifetime 2003 - 2026
Associated satellites and instruments

Note: red tag => no longer operational , green tag => operational , blue tag => planned