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Planning and Scheduling Work Presented at the GEO-CAPE Community Meeting
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Planning and Scheduling Work Presented at the GEO-CAPE Community Meeting

Dr. Laura Iraci (ARC Atmospheric Science Branch - SGG) presented analysis of multiple instrument concepts, including analysis by the TI Planning and Scheduling Group, at the GEOstationary Coastal and Air Pollution Events (GEO-CAPE) Community Meeting from August 29th - September 3rd. The GEO-CAPE mission includes a visible-spectrum ocean-color instrument mounted on a geostationary satellite observing the Western Hemisphere. Multiple instrument concepts are presently being analyzed with respect to a set of notional science objectives. Of particular interest to the GEO-CAPE community is the impact clouds have on mission return. The Planning and Scheduling Group was funded in 2015 to analyze the daily scheduling of observations. Doing so involved assigning specific scenes for each instrument covering the targets of interest (specifically the U.S. Coastal waters), processing cloud-cover data from the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) system, and then using automated scheduling technology to produce schedules.

The resulting analysis shows that a fast instrument is under-utilized for the primary mission, leaving considerable extra time to perform other novel science, primarily due to extensive cloud cover; by contrast, a slower instrument with different sensor technology that might have been deemed unable to meet the primary science objectives was shown to be able to meet the baseline objectives described by the GEO-CAPE community. This project was a collaboration between multiple directorates at ARC (the TI Autonomous Systems and Robotics, the Atmospheric Science Branch - SGG, and the Office of the Director of Engineering - Code R), the University of California Santa Cruz, and the University of New Hampshire. The project also benefitted greatly from two Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (QuAIL) high school interns.

BACKGROUND: The GEO-CAPE mission was recommended by the National Research Council’s Earth Science Decadal Survey to measure tropospheric trace gases and aerosols, coastal ocean phytoplankton, water quality, and biogeochemistry from geostationary orbit, providing multiple daily observations within the field of view. Multiple observations per day are required to explore the physical, chemical, and dynamical processes that determine tropospheric composition and air quality over spatial scales ranging from urban to continental, and over temporal scales ranging from diurnal to seasonal. Likewise, high-frequency satellite observations are critical to studying and quantifying biological, chemical, and physical processes within the coastal ocean and beyond.

These observations are to be achieved from a vantage point near 95°-100°W, to potentially view North and South America as well as the adjacent oceans. GEO-CAPE will join the global constellation of geostationary atmospheric chemistry and coastal ocean-color sensors planned to be in orbit in the 2020 timeframe.

The Science Working Groups (SWGs) have endorsed the concept of phased implementation using commercial satellites to reduce mission risk and cost. Multiple instruments are being considered.

More about GEO-CAPE can be found here:

PROGRAM FUNDING: Human Exploration Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)

POC: Jeremy Frank,

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