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Field Terminal Support

The Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) and Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) satellites include a Direct Broadcast (DB) service that continuously downlinks science data, using a X band antenna, to compatible ground stations. The S-NPP and NOAA-20 High-Rate Data (HRD) downlinks have a data rate of 15 Mbps. The JPSS-2 HRD will have a data rate of 25 Mbps.

A typical DB user ground station consists of an antenna, feed with low noise amplifier and downconverter, demodulator, and processor. Many DB users have antennas in the 2.4-meter to 3.7-meter range. HRD users schedule S-NPP and NOAA-20 contacts using orbital information provided by NOAA. During scheduled contacts, NOAA uses the JPSS ground system equipment at the Svalbard ground station to record the HRD signal characteristics and generate an HRD Link Monitoring (HLM) report.

The Field Terminal Support (FTS) system provides Mission Support Data (including auxiliary and ancillary data), software, and documentation to Field Terminal Integrators and DB users. The auxiliary data on FTS includes the Two-Line Element Sets (TLE) that are used to determine the location of the satellite.

The JPSS Ground Segment implemented the FTS capability in the Government Resources for Algorithm Verification, Independent Test and Evaluation (GRAVITE) system boundary in 2017 and operated FTS through mid-2021. The JPSS Ground Segment’s Data Products and Management Services (DPMS), Office of Satellite and Product Operations (OSPO), Office of Satellite Ground Services (OSGS), and NOAA Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) Service Delivery Division (SDD) transitioned FTS to OSPO’s Environmental Satellite Processing Center (ESPC) and the NOAA Website Operations Center (WOC) in 2021. OSPO plans to assume responsibility for FTS Operations and Maintenance (O&M) after a successful handover, in mid-2021.

The ESPC automatically ingests data from the FTS interfaces, including the JPSS Common Ground System. The ESPC’s Product Distribution and Access (PDA) distributes the data to the NOAA WOC where FTS users access the MSD, software, and documents through the FTS Web Portal. The FTS Portal is now operational. Access to the FTS web portal is through a self-registration process and all customers around the world will be granted access. To access the FTS portal please go to the FTS Web Portal.

The JPSS Ground Segment funds two Field Terminal Integrators to assemble the JPSS Program-supplied building blocks into end-to-end processing systems for HRD users. The two Field Terminal Integrators are the University of Wisconsin - Madison, Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC)/ Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS), and NASA’s Direct Readout Laboratory (DRL) at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. CIMSS developed and maintains the Community Satellite Processing Package (CSPP) LEO software. The CIMSS staff retrieve the Algorithm Development Library (ADL) software from FTS and use it to implement the CSPP LEO Sensor Data Record (SDR) processing software.

NASA DRL develops and maintains the Real-time Software Telemetry Processing System (RT-STPS) software. RT-STPS is available on the RT-STPS website and on the FTS Web Portal. Additionally, both of the Field Terminal Integrators retrieve data from FTS and distribute the data to their customers.

Satellite orbital data is provided on the FTS web portal, to assist the DB community and partner agencies in locating and tracking the satellites of interest. With their own ground station and the information from FTS, the DB user can capture and process the HRD content and generate data products, such as SDRs and Environmental Data Records (EDRs). The DB user can download the HLM report to troubleshoot any reception issues.

Important Note:
The ancillary files in FTS now have the original filenames for the files as received by PDA. Note that in the Legacy FTS, the ancillary files were renamed in IDPS (after pulling the files from PDA) and before sending to files to the CGS for distribution to FTS.

Ancillary Data Filenames are Different than the Filenames in the Legacy FTS

Type of Data OSPO FTS Example Legacy FTS Example
ncep_gfs 20210325000000-fh.003_tl.
fnmoc_navgem US058GMET-GR2mdl.0018_
fnmoc_naaps US058GMET-GR2mdl.0018_
polar_wander 20210327024503-

More Information on the Data and Information on the FTS Web Portal

FTS acquires the following auxiliary data:

  • Orbital Data
    • Two Line Element Sets (TLE) are used to determine the location of a spacecraft. The IDPS ingests these files from C3S specifically to use them as a backup for the onboard Spacecraft definitive ephemeris that are downlinked in the Stored Mission Data (SMD) as Spacecraft Diary data. IDPS converts the TLEs to the HDF5 format. The native version of the TLEs are available through the IDMZ on the CGS External SFTP Server.
    • The Orbit Analyst posts the Predicted Post-Maneuver TLEs for planned maneuvers within 24 hours of the maneuver. Predicted Post-Maneuver TLEs sets are posted on the C3S Intranet Web Server, the CGS External SFTP server, and the Internal Mission Support Data Server (MSDS).
    • Predicted Ephemeris Data.
    • Definitive Ephemeris Data.
    • Predicted Maneuver Ephemeris Data.
    • Predicted Post-maneuver TLEs.
    • Revolution Numbers. The Revolution Number file includes predictions of JPSS revolution numbers. Satellite revolutions are defined as incrementing at each successive ascending node crossing, starting with revolution “one” at the first ascending node crossing after launch. The file provides predictions for up to 90 days.
    • Earth Orientation Files.
  • Mission Schedules.
  • HRD Link Monitoring (HLM) Reports. The JPSS Ground System monitors the quality of the HRD Direct Broadcast downlinks during at least three passes per day for each of the JPSS managed satellites. Monitoring consists of ensuring that the downlink is functioning properly and that application packets generated on the spacecraft are arriving in good condition at the Svalbard ground system monitoring point. The HLM reports are distributed through the JPSS CGS IDMZ SFTP server.
  • Processing Coefficient Tables. The JPSS ground system’s data product generation capability and the DB field terminal software use parameters from Processing Coefficient Tables (PCT). PCT files can be either Automated or Manual coefficient tables.3 Automated Processing Coefficient (PC) files contain parameters updated and/or created during the processing of the S-NPP and NOAA-20 data products by the processing algorithms.
  • Look Up Tables (LUT). Algorithm Look-up Table (LUT) files contain tables of pre-computed values used in lieu of real-time algorithm computations to reduce processing resource demands. These data generally cover broad, multi-dimensional parameter spaces which are unique to each algorithm. Examples of LUTs are in Appendix B.
  • CrIS Correction Matrix.
  • VIIRS Reflective Solar Bands (RSB) AutoCal History Auxiliary File. The VIIRS Reflective Solar Band (RSB) Automatic Calibration (AutoCal) History auxiliary file contains the last 20 updates of the RSB, F, H, DNB LGS gain, DNB dark signal, DNB gain ratios, and solar processing data. The file is produced by CGS and stored as an intermediate product within the IDPS.

FTS acquires the following ancillary data:

  • National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Global Forecast System (GFS)
  • Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center (FNMOC) Navy Global Environmental Model (NAVGEM)
  • FNMOC Navy Aerosol Analysis and Prediction System (NAAPS)
  • JPSS Planetary Ephemeris from Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Used by IDPS to determine solar and lunar vectors during JPSS Mission Data processing. This internal format was modified from the DE200 format to accommodate use within JPSS without modifying the content or general layout of the source DE200 data.
The following FTS ancillary data are to be in FTS within 12 hours of the time the data are made available: NCEP GFS, FNMOC NAVGEM, and FNMOC NAAPS. If the data files are not received within 12 hours then FTS is required to alert the FTS Operator.

The FTS Operator will download software and post it in the FTS Web Portal. FTS acquires the following software:

  • Algorithm Development Library (ADL) framework and algorithm release packages. ADL is a software package that supports development, integration, maintenance and enhancement of S-NPP and JPSS algorithms. ADL provides a processing framework for offline (i.e., external to IDPS) algorithm execution and a toolkit of utilities to ease algorithm development and integration. The release cycle for the ADL framework is expected to be roughly twice per year, while the release cycle for algorithm update packages will coincide with IDPS builds, occurring approximately every 10-12 weeks. ADL Data Packages are provided with each framework release and algorithm update release. The FTS Operator will download documents from the JPSS Management Information System (MIS) and place them in the FTS Web Portal. The FTS Operator requires access to the NASA network that hosts the JPSS MIS.
  • RT-STPS from NASA DRL.