Argos DCS

The Argos Data Collection and location System (DCS) is a data collection and relay program that provides global coverage and platform location. The Argos program is administered under a joint agreement between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the French Space Agency, Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES). Additional partners include EUMETSAT and ISRO.

The System consists of in-situ data collection platforms equipped with sensors and transmitters and Argos instruments aboard polar-orbiting satellites. CNES subsidiary companies, Collecte Localisation Satellites (CLS) and Kinéis in Toulouse, France and Woods Hole Group (formerly CLS America) in Lanham, Maryland process the data and deliver it to end users.

Flying the Argos system aboard polar-orbiting satellites provides worldwide coverage. Additionally, incorporating the Argos instrument on a moving satellite allows for locating an in-situ platform using Doppler shift calculations. This positioning capability permits a wide variety of applications.

There are nearly 13,000 active Argos platforms collecting data for approximately 2,000 distinct projects in 100+ countries. Notably, U.S. applications account for about one-third of total system use, on average; and there are more than 40 distinct projects being managed by various NOAA offices.

The Argos system is transforming in the 2020s, with "Argos-4" launches by EUMETSAT, ISRO and NOAA and the addition of twenty-five small-satellites by Kinéis.