Peraton: Helping NOAA Collect Weather Intelligence For Over Twenty Years

You can find Peraton’s influence as far north as Alaska and as far south as Antarctica, as employees work to ensure that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) receives the satellite data needed for weather forecasting and federal disaster strategy to help avert life and property losses.

The Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP), first launched in 1962, provides weather data from two primary spacecraft at polar orbits to help the U.S. military and intelligence community (IC) plan and execute missions. The program transitioned from the U.S. Air Force to NOAA in 1997; the primary satellite operations control center is in Suitland, Maryland and sustained by Peraton employees. Along with the NOAA Satellite Operational Facility (NSOF), Peraton employees also support the DMSP at NOAA’s tracking sites at the Fairbanks Command and Data Acquisition (CDA) Station in Alaska and the McMurdo Research Station in Antarctica.

Peraton also has a longstanding partnership with NOAA through the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES)-R Series program. Since 2009, the Peraton team has performed around-the-clock engineering, site integration and testing (SI&T), and sustainment at NSOF, at the Wallops Command and Data Acquisition Station in Wallops Island, Virginia, and at the Consolidated Backup (CBU) facility in Fairmont, West Virginia. Peraton employees process and analyze the data that comes down from the GOES-R satellites—imagery, atmospheric measurements, and space environmental monitoring of the Western Hemisphere—and maintain all network equipment, computers, and data storage systems.

In 2010, Peraton won a contract for the Environmental Satellite Processing and Distribution System (ESPDS), which processes and distributes satellite data, along with providing enhanced system development, integration support, and enterprise architecture migration. Working closely with NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS), Peraton employees implemented a flexible, reliable, maintainable, and expandable virtualized “private” cloud infrastructure to provide critical NOAA mission service subsystems on a common infrastructure. The Peraton team has sustained the ESPDS’ 24/7 operational status since its first operational readiness review in August 2016, providing NOAA with the critical satellite sensor products necessary to protect people and property from extreme weather events.

The Comprehensive Large Array-data Stewardship System (CLASS) is NOAA’s premier archiving system for environmental data, which Peraton employees began operating, maintaining, and sustaining in 2016. Peraton is the prime contractor on CLASS, responsible for program and subcontractor management and performing operations, maintenance, sustainment, information security, and development activities. The Peraton team supports mission continuity by maintaining a near-constant operational availability to ensure NOAA has the critical satellite data and imagery access needed for forecasting and predictions. NOAA also provides this critical data to the nation and scientific community. Through CLASS, Peraton consolidated “stovepipe” legacy archival storage systems, reducing the number of IT systems for NOAA to manage and customers to access, and saving NOAA over a million dollars.

Peraton employees recently completed the Initial Joint Polar System – Communications Element (IJPS-CE), a 15-year program that supports the sharing of satellite data between NOAA and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). The cooperation was established in 1998 in order to strengthen global coverage of weather monitoring. Peraton won the contract in 2005 and worked on the program through August 2020.

Additionally, Peraton employees worked on NOAA’s Initial Joint Polar System – Satellite Operations Control Center and Command & Data Acquisition (IJPS-CSU) from 2003 to 2008, performing system upgrades, technology integration and testing, and antennae upgrades at the Fairbanks and Wallops facilities.

Peraton also supports the WindSat Coriolis mission, launched in 2003. The Department of Defense Space Test Program’s Coriolis satellite is in near-polar orbit. Peraton employees designed, built, installed, and tested the ground system for the recovery and relay of payload mission data. The WindSat instrument, developed by the U.S. Navy, operates on the Coriolis satellite and measures the ocean surface wind vector from space, as well as other environmental parameters like sea surface temperature, total precipitable water, and rain rate. WindSat remains functional 15 years past its design life.

Peraton is proud of its enduring partnership with NOAA and looks forward to supporting future NOAA missions that provide critical weather intelligence to safeguard lives and property.