National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service

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Two Orbits, One MissionThe National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) is dedicated to providing timely access to global environmental data from satellites and other sources to promote, protect and enhance the Nation's economy, security, environment and quality of life. To fulfill its responsibilities, NESDIS—informally known as the NOAA Satellite and Information Service—acquires and manages the Nation's operational environmental satellites, operates the NOAA National Data Centers, provides data and information services including Earth system monitoring, performs official assessments of the environment, and conducts related research.

NESDIS environmental satellite observations provide important contributions to U.S. national security by providing military users with real-time and near-real-time observations for their aircraft, ships, ground forces and facilities worldwide.

NESDIS also contributes to the national economy by providing environmental data that support resource management of energy, water, global food supplies and other economic and environmental resources.


Our vision is to be the world's most comprehensive source and recognized authority for satellite products, environmental information and official assessments of the environment in support of societal and economic decisions. To achieve our vision, we collaborate with other agencies and organizations to describe changes to our climate and the implications of those changes. We continue to lead the effort with other agencies and countries in establishing a global observing system to meet the world's information needs for weather, climate, oceans and disasters and developing a skilled, energetic and dedicated workforce through training, motivation and teamwork.

NESDIS Mission/Vision One-Page Information Sheet NESDIS Mission/Vision One-Page Information Sheet

Two Orbits, One Mission

Two Orbits, One MissionNOAA maintains two primary constellations of environmental satellites: polar-orbiting and geostationary satellites. These are part of NOAA's integrated observing system, which includes satellites, radars, surface automated weather stations, weather balloons, sounders, buoys, instrumented aircraft and other sensors, along with the data management infrastructure needed for this system. This integrated system is the foundation upon which NOAA works towards achieving our four main goals: a weather-ready Nation, climate adaptation and mitigation, healthy oceans, and resilient coastal communities and ecosystems. Watch visualization of POES/GOES orbits »

Two Orbits, One Mission Information Sheet

Accomplishments Report 2014 2014 NESDIS Annual Accomplishments Report »

Supporting NOAA's Mission


NOAA's Mission

  • Science, Service and Stewardship
  • To understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans and coasts
  • To share that knowledge and information with others
  • To conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources

NOAA's Vision of the Future

  • Resilient ecosystems, communities and economies
  • Healthy ecosystems, communities and economies that are resilient in the face of change

NOAA's Goals

  • Climate Adaptation - An informed society anticipating and responding to climate and its impacts
  • A Weather Ready Nation - Society is prepared for and responds to weather-related events
  • Healthy Oceans - Marine fisheries, habitats and biodiversity sustained within healthy and productive ecosystems
  • Resilient Coastal Communities and Economies - Coastal and Great Lakes communities that are environmentally and economically sustainable

NESDIS supports NOAA's mission of Science, Service and Stewardship through our varied programs, products and services. It is an end-to-end responsibility that underpins NOAA's value to the nation.

NOAA's environmental satellites are key tools for forecasting weather, analyzing environmental and climate phenomena, and monitoring hazards worldwide. This 24/7 global coverage provides a never-ending stream of information used in preparation for events that impact our climate, weather, oceans, and daily lives.

Our Contributions
  • Maintain reliable, uninterrupted and high-quality observations of the Earth, oceans and atmosphere from space
  • Ensure continuity and scientific integrity of long-term data records of the Earth and its processes, which support key issues such as global temperature and sea level rise
  • Ensure data is readily and easily available through use of standards, metadata and the best practices in data management.
  • Service a diverse group of users including government research, academia, industry (ex: energy, insurance sectors), legal community, educators and general public
  • Preserve environmental information for future generations
Why are satellite-based observations key?


  • Continuous imaging and sounding of weather in the Western Hemisphere help save lives and minimize property damage from severe weather.
  • Global imaging and sounding for medium and long-range weather forecasting and climate analysis are crucial inputs into numerical weather prediction models.
  • Satellite-based observations assist with disaster mitigation through monitoring:
    • Severe weather
    • Precipitation
    • Fires and smoke
    • Volcano eruptions
    • Dust storms and other air quality issues
  • Satellite-based observations impact the general public and their decision making.
  • Satellite-based observations support a broad range of environmental monitoring for weather, climate, oceans, coasts and ecosystems.

Principal Activities

We acquire and archive environmental data from satellite, land, air, and ocean-based observations from U.S. and foreign sources. The Nation's preserved environmental data is then:

  • Assembled into easy to use long-term data sets
  • Accessed by government, business and academic users
  • Used to analyze the earth's environment - Data Center scientists impact the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change process, Oceans Act and Energy Policy

We also manage the NOAA Central Library and its more than 25 NOAA libraries located across the nation.

Data Centers

NOAA provides timely access to global environmental data from satellites and other sources through its three discipline-oriented data centers. The data archives amassed by these centers provide a record of Earth's changing environment, and support numerous research and operational applications worldwide.

Satellite Programs

NOAA, in collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as its acquisition partner, develops, manages and operates a fleet of weather and environmental satellites providing 24-hour a day global coverage critical for making decisions affecting everything from how to dress to beat the weather to government-level approaches to addressing the impacts of climate change.

Next Generation Satellites

In addition to current satellite programs, NOAA/NASA operate two next generation satellite missions:

Real-Time Satellite Imagery »

Satellite Products and Mission Information »