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Status of the Polar Communications and Weather (PCW) mission to serve the Arctic. A concept of Polar Communications and Weather (PCW) mission to serve the Arctic. First Workshop on Satellite Imaging of the Arctic Copenhagen, Denmark August 20-21 2008

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Status of the polar communications and weather pcw mission to serve the arctic l.jpg

Status of the Polar Communications and Weather (PCW) mission to serve the Arctic

A concept of Polar Communications and Weather (PCW) mission to serve the Arctic

First Workshop on Satellite Imaging of the Arctic

Copenhagen, Denmark

August 20-21 2008

Louis Garand, EC; Guennadi Kroupnik, CSA

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Part 1

  • Objectives

  • Mission development structure

  • Applications and Observation requirements

    Part 2

  • Mission overview

  • Phase 0 outcomes

  • Phase A plan and follow up

  • Conclusion

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Dual Objectives: Communications & Weather

  • Reliable communications in the high latitudes (North of 70º) to ensure:

    • Security

    • Sustainable Development

    • Support to Northern Communities

    • Air and Marine Navigation

  • Provide high temporal/spatial resolution meteorological data above 50º N in support of:

    • Numerical Weather Prediction

    • Environmental monitoring, emergency response

    • Climate monitoring

Focus of this presentation: Meteorological aspect

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Mission Development Structure


Canadian Space Agency


Users and Science Team

Environment Canada (EC),

Dept. of National Defense (DND),

Natural Resources Canada,

Canadian Coast Guard,

Transport Canada, NavCanada,

Dept. of Indian and Northern Affairs,

Gov. of Nunavut

And other gov. agencies

Industrial Team

MDA, Com Dev,

ABB Bomem,

Bristol Aerospace,


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Mission Requirements

  • To provide continuousmeteorological service and information for the entire circumpolar region, with the imagery data “refreshed” as frequently as practical. GOAL 15 min

  • To improve weather prediction accuracy and timeliness by providing high quality data currently not available or available with insufficient spatial / temporal resolution

  • To improve the monitoring and prediction of air quality variables

  • To improve the modeling of physical processes in the Arctic environment

  • To develop measures of climate change through high quality monitoring of key atmospheric and surface variables

  • To improve observation and forecasting of space weather

  • To have a proto-operational system in place by 2014. Lifetime of 5 years (goal 7 years)

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Applications and Products 1/2

  • a) Winds from sequences of images: high priority product

    • At least 2 water vapor channels (6.2-7.4 micron region) with response function peaking at various heights

    • Visible, IR (3.9, 10-12 micron), wavelength channels will be also used for that purpose

  • b) Surface type analysis: ice, snow, ocean, vegetation and surface characteristics such as emissivity, albedo, vegetation index

  • c) Surface temperature, detection of boundary-layer temperature inversions, diurnal cycle

  • d) Mid-tropospheric q/T sensitive channels for hourly direct assimilation complementing GEO radiance assimilation

  • e) Volcanic ash detection

    • A channel near 12.3 microns is often used along with an 11.2 micron and 7.3 micron bands

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Applications and Products 2/2

  • f) Smoke, dust, aerosols, fog in support of air quality models and environmental prediction:

    • These parameters best detected from a combination of 0.47, 2.2, 3.9, 8.5, 11.2, 12.3 micron bands

  • g) Total column ozone:

    • This requires at least one band near 9.6 micron

  • h) Cloud parameters: height, fraction, temperature, emissivity, phase, effective particle size

  • i) Broadband outgoing radiation: total, Vis, IR, window

The variety of applications imposes a minimum number of spectral channels of the order of 10, preferably ~20.

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Benefits to EC NWP Operational Models

  • Global, 35 km, 4D-var DA, 10 day forecasts twice daily

  • Ensemble Kalman Filter, 100 km, global 15 day forecasts twice daily

  • Regional, 15 km, 3D-var DA, 2 day forecasts, 4 times daily

  • Air quality model, daily, 35 km, 48-h forecasts

  • Polar extension of Reg 15 km

  • model planned for late 2008

  • In support of IPY

  • PCW direct support to NWP:

  • AMVs

  • radiance assimilation

  • surface analysis

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Atmospheric Motion Vectors (AMVs) assimilationExample of 07 Aug 2008 00 UTC AMV availability

100-400 hPa

Recognized availability

gap 55-65 N/S

Terra/Aqua AMVs

  • 700 hPa to surface

  • No AMVs above 55 N/S

  • Features to serve this application:

  • High temporal sequences

  • Simultaneous retrievals

  • Stereo views

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Production cycle/latency of level 1 (radiances) and 2 (e.g winds)

Radiances available for direct assimilation within 30 min, winds 60 min

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Volcanic ash application

The 9 VACC areas of responsability

Canada has one of 9 Volcanic

Ash Advisory Centers

(VACC located in Dorval, Qc)

With area of responsibility

Covering a large part of the


Detection of vocanic ash from AVHRR

lacks temporal resolution

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Ice analysis application at Environment Canada

Ice fraction

Prototype 5 km over Canadian


PCW VIS ch ~500 m could

contribute to operational

sea ice fraction analysis

POLAR grid 15 km ice analysis

AMSR (NT2), CIS ice charts and image analysis (RadarSat, EnviSat)

3D-Var FGAT scheme (twice daily)

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Channel selection approach

  • Select channels with similar characteristics to those foreseen for next generation of GEO (GOES-R, MTG) as suggested by WMO. Obvious advantages for continuity of applications

  • Reduce risk associated with technology readiness

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Proposed imager channels (21) based on ABI, MODIS heritage

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Main Imagery requirements (1/2)

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Main Imagery requirements (2/2)

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Secondary meteorological payload: broadband radiometer

HEO orbit would provide rich variety of sat-sun angles for bi-directional

reflectance modeling. GERB-like closest to desired characteristics.

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Space weather instruments in support of PCW

  • Objective: Real-time monitoring of the local (to the satellite) space environment to provide diagnostics of satellite anomalies or communication degradation (passage in Van Allan radiation belts twice per orbit)

  • Support PCW space weather forecasts to be provided by Canadian Space Weather Forecast Centre

    Priority to high energy particle sensors (similar to EPS, HEPAD on GOES)

  • Trapped electrons with energies greater than 500 KeV

  • Trapped protons with energies greater than 1 MeV

  • Solar protons and ions, ~1-500 MeV

  • Magnetic field disturbances

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PCW: Constellation in Molniya Orbit



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Mission Overview

  • Architecture: constellation of two satellites in HEO (Molniya-type, 12 hours)

  • Orbit: two planes with apogee over Atlantic and Pacific (TBC)

  • Payloads: Communications (Ka-band) and Meteorological payload suits on each satellite

  • Bus: Canadian SmallSat Bus (to be inaugurated on CASSIOPE- 2009)

  • Ground segment: based on existing Canadian infrastructure with potential addition of the Northern Ground Station

  • Operations: government operated (TBC)

  • Launch: 2014 and 2015

  • Lifespan: 5 years-requirement, 7 years - goal

  • Partnership: Open for international and Public-Private Partnership

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Area of Interest

Meteorological Coverage Requirement (50ºN)

Meteorological Coverage Goal (45ºN)

Communications Coverage Requirement

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Molniya-type Orbits Ground Tracks

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Orbit Trade-OFF

  • Molniya 12-h has been evaluated as the best compromise vs. other options: Tundra 24-h, Cobra 8-h or MEO (requiring at least 4 satellites)

  • Molniya 12-h with 2 satellites: 4 % of area above 50 N not covered on average

    - Gap area circles around earth for 2 satellites in one plane

    - Gap area always at the same region, maximum 1-5 h from apogee for two orbital planes

  • 2-planes best for symmetrical views (stereo) +

    - possible advantages of having only 2 apogee points versus 4

    - apogee points over Pacific and Atlantic would limit gaps in that area (e.g. no gaps in Canada and Russia)

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Mission Architecture

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Phase 0 Overview

  • Funding

    • CSA – 60%

    • DRDC – 20%

    • EC – 20%

  • Main Outcomes:

    • Buy-in and support by OGD and partners

    • Users Requirements Document

    • Preliminary Mission and System Requirements Document

    • Compliant System Concept

    • Mission Development Plan, including lifecycle cost

    • Phase A justification and planning

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Phase 0 – Major Milestones

  • RFP posted – September 10, 2007

  • RFP closure – October 24, 2007

  • Evaluation of proposals completed – November 14, 2007

  • Contract awarded – November 30, 2007

  • Kick-off meeting – December 12, 2007

  • Interim Progress Review – March, 2008

  • Final Review – September 3-4, 2008

  • Phase 0 closure – September 30, 2008

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Phase 0 Results: Requirements

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Phase 0 Results: Preliminary Bus Concept

Mass:1319 kg

Power:1233 W

Pointing Knowledge:7.6 arcsec

Pointing Control:55.1 arcsec

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Phase 0 Results: Payloads

  • Primary

    • 2-way HDR antenna/transponder sub-system (Ka)

    • Imaging Spectroradiometer

    • Space weather instruments

  • Secondary

    • Scientific instruments:

      • Broadband radiometer

      • Aurora Imager

      • Atmospheric composition instrument

      • Ozone profiler

      • Magnetometer

    • Technology Demonstration:

      • Software Based Radio

      • V-band tech demo

    • Other (TBD)

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Phase 0 Results: Meteo Payload Concept

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Phase 0 Results: Concept of Operations

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Phase A Overview

  • Status

    • Phase A1 (October 2008-March 2009) - committed

    • Phase A2 (April 2009 – November 2009) – planned

  • Expected Main Outcomes:

    • Successful Preliminary System Requirements Review

    • System Requirements Document

    • Ground Segment Requirement Specification (update)

    • Spacecraft Requirement Specification (update)

    • Bus Requirement Specification

    • Meteorological Payload Requirement Specification (update)

    • Communication Payload Requirement Specification (update)

    • Mission Development Plan, including lifecycle cost

    • Treasury Board submission seeking phases B/C/D approval

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Phase A Issues

  • Compatibility between Comms and Meteo Payloads & operations (feasibility has been established in Phase 0)

  • Meteo imaging geometry and associated SNR and image processing requirements

  • Ionizing radiation environment considering 5-year design life

  • Solar arrays considering RAAN variation and ionizing radiation

  • Defining optimum orbit and launch strategy

  • Cost

  • Partnership arrangements

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Partnership Opportunities

  • Phase A1: Extension of membership in the Users & Science Team to the international partner organizations (URD final release)

  • Phase A2: Joint Definition Study

    • Via CSA: government and intergovernmental agencies

    • Via Prime Contractor: private/commercial entities

  • Phase B and beyond: Partnership mission (International and/or PPP) (TBC)

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  • Phase 0:

    • Identified and validated comprehensive Users Requirements

    • Proved pertinence of the mission to the national and international priorities of the Government of Canada

    • Demonstrated feasibility of the technical solutions

  • Phase A:

    • Starts in November 2008

    • Open for partnership!!!

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Contact Information

  • Guennadi Kroupnik:

    PCW Program Manager, Canadian Space Agency,

    Tel.: (450) 926-6471,


  • Louis Garand:

    PCW U&ST Co-Chair, Environment Canada,

    Tel.: (514) 421-4749,


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