This week, NOAA is holding the biennial weather and environmental satellite conference— and this year it is in the historic Great Hall, located in the City College of New York’s (CCNY) Shepard Hall. Hosted by the NOAA/CCNY Cooperative Science Center for Earth System Sciences and Remote Sensing Technologies (CREST), the speakers’s podium is backed by Edwin H. Blashfield’s mural, “The Graduate,” depicting the passing of wisdom from The Alma Mater onto a young scholar. And this sets the theme for the conference: “Welcome to a New Era for NOAA Environmental Satellites.”

The Graduate by Edwin H. Blashfield
The Graduate by Edwin H. Blashfield

On Monday, July 17, representatives of two NOAA Line Offices, Dr. Steve Volz, Acting Assistant Secretary for Environmental Observation & Prediction and Assistant Administrator for NOAA Satellite and Information Services; Mark Paese, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services; Captain Joseph Pica, Director of the National Weather Service (NWS) Office of Observations; and Vanessa Griffin, Director of the Office of Satellite and Product Operations within NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS); led off the Plenary Session on the first day, followed by representatives from NOAA’s international partners, including the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE), and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Nine-time Emmy award winner Al Roker was the luncheon speaker. He was followed by a panel discussion on Big Data and the status of NOAA’s Big Data Project. He took many questions from the students in the audience in a light-hearted manner. This was followed by a Town Hall Meeting on Satellite Constellation Evolution, led by Dr. Karen St. Germain, Director of the NESDIS Office of Systems Architecture and Advanced Planning (OSAAP). The lively discussion centered on the enterprise-level mission architecture development and systems engineering study that will help NESDIS become a flexible, stable and responsive civil space agency in support of NOAA’s mission.

NOAA Satellite Conference
NOAA Satellite Conference – Al Roker

The day closed with a panel discussion of the transition from Research to Operations (R2O) moderated by Tom Renkevens, Chief of the Satellite Products and Services Division (SPSD) within OSPO. INNOVIM’s Chief Science Officer, Dr. Philip Ardanuy, attended this event.

Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s sessions center on NOAA’s flagship orbits, the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) and the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS). The final day on Thursday concentrates on data access and radio spectrum allocation issues.