The advanced technology built into the next generation of weather satellites developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) will significantly improve the U.S.’ ability to observe and detect meteorological phenomena.
In the midst of the excitement and large budgets dedicated to future satellites such as the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R Series (GOES-R), it’s easy to lose sight of that fact that it will be the year 2020 before all of these satellites will be operational. In the meantime current satellites, such as the GOES-N Series and associated legacy ground systems, must be maintained.
In 2014, budget restrictions challenged NOAA/NESDIS to reduce spending for critical infrastructure upgrades across its legacy systems such as Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellites (POES), GOES, Jason-2, and NOAA data centers by 10 percent without impacting operations.
In order to help NOAA/NESDIS quickly and efficiently identify their highest-priority infrastructure upgrades for each fiscal year, Noblis developed a Ground System Investment Prioritization Tool. The tool enables NOAA/NESDIS to make informed decisions to identify lower priorities based on cross-checking with other legacy systems within the tool.
Noblis witnessed the success of their tool in NOAA/NESDIS’ recent budgetary planning sessions. The tool was instrumental in helping NOAA/NESDIS align their priorities with their budgets and enabling them to develop solutions about the way forward. Without this tool, the funding allocation process would have been significantly more time consuming, less transparent, and may have resulted in less optimal decisions and budget allocations.
Balancing the costs of building new systems and maintaining legacy ones will continue to be a challenge for NOAA/NESDIS as they evolve their satellite programs, but Noblis’ budget Ground System investment prioritization tool will help ensure that their infrastructure upgrades are properly prioritized and guided by fiscal reality.
Mary Ann Davis
Mary Ann is an experienced account and program manager leading a team of engineers and analysts who provide weather satellite and systems engineering expertise.
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