2021 News & Events

Department of Commerce Formally Approves NOAA's Geostationary Extended Observations (GeoXO) Program

12 November 2021
adapted from the announcement by NOAA CPO

GeoXO Constellation
Formal approval of NOAA's next generation satellite system means NOAA is moving forward with improvements to the observations we take from space, including our first instrument dedicated to atmospheric composition. The satellite constellation will yield new data for OAR's laboratories and programs.

The Deputy Secretary of Commerce formally initiated NOAA's next-generation geostationary satellite program, Geostationary Extended Observations (GeoXO), with the signing of the Milestone 1 decision memo on 9 November 2021.

GeoXO spacecraft will carry an imager, lightning mapper, ocean color instrument, sounder, and atmospheric composition instrument. A day/night band, or channel, is recommended as part of either the imager or the sounder. From NOAA's Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), Monika Kopacz, Greg Frost, and Victoria Breeze have been heavily involved in assessing the value of the atmospheric composition instrument (ACX) and promoting ACX user readiness. See the NOAA Technical Report A Value Assessment of an Atmospheric Composition Capability on the NOAA Next-Generation Geostationary and Extended Orbits (GEO-XO) Missions for more information.

CSL contributions to GeoXO and related efforts

Greg Frost served as the OAR lead for atmospheric composition on GeoXO's User Requirements Working Group, whose recommendations for the mission's observational capabilities and constellation of spacecraft were ultimately approved by NOAA, NASA, and DOC management.

Greg Frost, Brian McDonald, Audrey Gaudel, Owen Cooper, and Karen Rosenlof were on a cross-NOAA team that wrote the value assessment of atmospheric composition on the GeoXO mission. This NOAA Technical Report, published in October 2020, serves as a guiding document for atmospheric composition capabilities on GeoXO, and it made a strong case for GeoXO's Atmospheric Composition instrument (ACX).

Greg Frost leads and Brian McDonald serves on the GeoXO ACX User Applications team, which is building awareness and competence across NOAA and its stakeholder community to utilize atmospheric composition observations from GeoXO.

Brian McDonald, Steve Brown, and Greg Frost are helping to advocate for and support NOAA activities to characterize and evaluate observations from NASA's TEMPO geostationary instrument (planned for launch in late 2022), a research pathfinder for the ACX instrument.

Greg Frost and Brian McDonald are part of the cross-NOAA team formulating a user readiness plan for atmospheric composition observations from space.

The inclusion of ACX in the GeoXO constellation represents a new step in NOAA's capabilities to measure and monitor atmospheric composition. Overall, the formal announcement is a win for all of OAR and NOAA as the GeoXO mission will supply vital information to address major environmental challenges of the future in support of U.S. weather, ocean, and climate operations and research. In addition, OAR programs and labs have an important role to play in preparing NOAA to best leverage the mission’s capabilities and observations.

With formal initiation, GeoXO will now enter the program definition phase of development, where the team will refine mission requirements, detail acquisition strategies, schedules, cost estimates, resource planning, and risk management, and confirm technology readiness. NOAA is working to ensure these critical observations are in place by the early 2030s as the GOES-R Series nears the end of its operational lifetime.