BackForward Satellite Programme: NOAA 5th generation / Polar Operational Environmental Satellites 

Programme details
Programme description
  • Series of five operational meteorological satellites in sunsynchronous orbit, implementing the POES programme starting with NOAA-15.
  • Fifth generation of the NOAA series.
  • Main developments: replacement of TOVS (TIROS Operational Vertical Sounder = HIRS/2 + MSU + SSU) by ATOVS (Advanced TOVS = HIRS/3 + AMSU-A + AMSU-B).
  • Programme managed end-to-end by NOAA.
  • The platforms are actively stabilised over 3 axes.
  • The design life time of the satellites is 3 years.
  • The replacement policy is based on launching satellites in sequence, roughly 6 months before the expected end-of-life of a satellite.
  • The satellites are planned to cover the orbit around 13:30, but spare satellites can be in the morning orbit.
  • See detailed description at
Data circulation
  • CDA (Command & Data Acquisition station) to acquire stored data as GAC (Global Area Coverage consisting of data from low-bit-rate instruments and reduced-resolution AVHRR images); and LAC (Local Area Coverage by selected AVHRR full resolution image frames).  Main locations: Fairbanks (Alaska) and Wallops Island (Virginia).
  • HRPT (High Resolution Picture Transmission) for real-time broadcasting of the whole information in digital form.
  • APT (Automatic Picture Transmission) for real-time broadcasting of two AVHRR image channels at reduced resolution in analogue form.
  • DSB (Direct Sounder Broadcast) for real-time broadcasting of low-bit-rate data (HIRS, SBUV, SEM and DCS) formatted as TIP (TIROS Information Processor) in digital form.
  • DCS (Data Collection Service) to localise DCP (Data Collection Platform) and relay their messages through the HRPT and DSB links.
  • S&RSAT (Search & Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking System) to relay emergency signals to Local User Terminals (LUT).
Agencies NOAA
Programme lifetime 1998 - 2024
Associated satellites and instruments

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