NOAA Office of Satellite and Product Operations

International Program Cooperation

In the 1980s, NOAA needed to balance the high cost of space systems and the growing need to provide a complete and accurate description of the atmosphere at regular intervals as inputs to numerical weather prediction and climate monitoring support systems. This led NOAA to enter into discussions and agreements at the international level with the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). The goal of this cooperation is to provide continuity of measurements from polar orbits, cost sharing, and improved forecast and monitoring capabilities through the introduction of new technologies.

Building upon the POES program, an agreement is in place between NOAA and EUMETSAT on the Initial Joint Polar-orbiting Operational Satellite System (IJPS). This program will include two series of independent but fully coordinated NOAA and EUMETSAT satellites, exchange of instruments and global data, cooperation in algorithm development, and plans for real-time direct broadcast. Under terms of the IJPS agreement, NOAA will provide NOAA-N and NOAA-N' satellites for flight in the afternoon orbit while EUMETSAT makes available METOP-1 and METOP-2 satellites for flight in the mid-morning orbit.