Minimize SMOS Operations

For the operations phase ESA will be responsible for the overall coordination of the mission and the ground segment operations, whereas CNES will be operating the spacecraft. The SMOS ground segment consists of different stations covering a variety of functionalities. The main stations to keep SMOS running day-to-day is located at ESAC Villafranca hosting the main part of the Data Processing Ground Segment (DPGS) and at CNES in Toulouse hosting the Satellite Operations Ground Segment (SOGS), with their respective receiving station.

Once the data reaches the DPGS at ESAC they will be calibrated, processed and archived in the Fast Processing Centre and disseminated to the SMOS data users. There will be two parallel processing chains for the scientific and NRT data products, the latter being distributed to the operational users within three hours from sensing. The DPGS also hosts facilities to check on the performance of the overall system as well as the product quality to ensure SMOS data provided to the users will have the appropriate quality. Throughout the mission lifetime, as our knowledge about the SMOS mission and data advances, the algorithms used to process the SMOS data will improve. Once a new version of these algorithms will be released all previously acquired data will need to be reprocessed. These reprocessing campaigns will be done at the Reprocessing Centre at Kiruna, which will also host the Long-Term Archive and will perform the large scale data distribution. The User Services, based at ESRIN, will take care of the setting-up of the appropriate systems for the dissemination of the SMOS data within the existing Multi-Mission User Services and the interaction with the users in case of problems in the data handling. Another very important functionality resides with the ESA Post Launch Support Office, which will be responsible for preventive and corrective maintenance of satellite and payload performances. This is the team investigating anomalies and reacting quickly in case non-nominal performances are discovered.

An important group of teams supporting the calibration of the MIRAS data and the development of the retrieval algorithms to derive SMOS level 2 data for soil moisture and sea surface salinity are the Expert Support Laboratories (ESLs), which have already been in place throughout the development phase. The ESLs are consortia consisting of industrial and scientific groups and comprise companies such as ACRI (F), ARGANS (UK) and ARRAY (CAN), as well as the expertise of the scientific groups such as Centre d’Etudes Spatiales de la Biosphere (CESBIO), L’Institut National de la Recherché Agronomique (INRA), Laboratoire d'Océanographie et du Climat: Expérimentations et approches numériques (LOCEAN), L'Institut Francais de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER) (all F), University of Tor Vergata (I), Institut de Ciencies del Mar (ICM), Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (E), Observatoire du Pic du Midi (F), University of Reading (UK). These consortia will continue to support the SMOS mission in the operations phase.

In addition, there will be strong national efforts to develop level 3 (global, single-instrument) and 4 (global, multi-instrument) SMOS data products through the French Centre Aval de Traitement des Donnees SMOS (CATDS) and the Spanish SMOS Level 3/4 Processing Centre (CP34). As for the ESLs, the CATDS and CP34 will support the SMOS mission by providing their expertise with regard to calibration, processing algorithms, observation modes, image reconstruction for the level 3 and 4 data products based on the SMOS data provided by the DPGS.

SMOS ground segment elements

FIGURE 1: SMOS ground segment elements. In addition to ESA facilities various functionalities will be supported by industrial contracts.