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Office of System Architecture and Advanced Planning (OSAAP)

OSAAP accelerates our nation’s environmental information services by designing and developing the next generation of Earth observation and data information systems.

OSAAP provides a systematic approach to requirements, satellite architecture planning, strategic planning, and systems engineering. This approach is used to provide critical business information and analysis to support NOAA and NESDIS’ strategic observing system investment planning.



OSAAP's Story

The Overview

The National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) created the Office of Systems Architecture and Advanced Planning (OSAAP) in 2013 to position NESDIS to address a fundamental shift in environmental observation needs and how we provide critical products and services.

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The Past

Image of the earth with satellites orbiting it

Since its inception, NESDIS has flown satellites in two primary orbits—first, in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and then in geostationary orbit (GEO). Over four generations of satellites, NESDIS has evolved these LEO and GEO capabilities and their unique ground systems to the state-of-the-art systems providing critical data today.


Current Trends

Today, more users are demanding new and better Earth observation data, greater capabilities are emerging in both commercial aerospace and among our strategic international partnerships, and technology is evolving rapidly. These trends both necessitate and enable a new approach to developing the next-generation of NOAA’s operational Earth observation systems that will improve the products and services we provide.

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The NESDIS Vision

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NESDIS is transitioning our organization to apply enterprise approaches that enable provision of an enhanced portfolio of Earth observation products and services that address user needs. The NESDIS Reimagined focus is on providing a fully integrated digital understanding of our Earth environment that can evolve quickly to meet changing user expectations by leveraging U.S. space-based operational environmental capabilities along with the capabilities of our partners and the commercial sector. NESDIS has shifted from evolving LEO and GEO satellites independently over time to implementing an agile architecture based on enterprise-wide assessments of the mix of NOAA, partner, and commercial data sources that will best support the products and services NESDIS is committed to providing.


OSAAP's Role

To support the NESDIS enterprise vision, OSAAP contributes the following:

  • Lead the architecture and advanced planning for future NOAA environmental satellites, ground systems, and services.
  • Collaborate with US Government agencies, international partners, and industry to leverage technology development to meet NOAA mission needs.
  • Plan the implementation and evolution of user-focused products and services supporting the NOAA Mission Service Areas, including development and sustainment of the NESDIS Level Requirements (NLR).
  • Conduct long term architecture studies including the NOAA Satellite Observing System Architecture study, whose outcomes led to recommendations for the highest value satellite constellations to meet the NESDIS Level Requirements based on a cost-benefit evaluation of over 100 different constellation options.
  • Conduct of the NESDIS Ground Enterprise Study, which will transition the enterprise to a ground services approach blending myriad sources of data into optimal products and services.
  • Assess industry and partner satellite data products and services for operational use by NOAA Line Offices.
  • Develop and maintain a slate of systems engineering and project management policies and procedures to guide NESDIS’s enterprise approach and help reach optimal solutions.
  • Execution of strategic planning process for NESDIS that outlines NESDIS’s key strategic milestones over the next five years to achieve its enterprise-wide strategic vision.
  • Perform system analysis and performance assessment to optimize the effective implementation of NOAA environmental satellite systems and services in response to user needs.
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Our Leadership

Dan St. Jean
Deputy Director
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Dave Spencer
Chief Technologist
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Frank W. Gallagher III, Ph.D.
System Architecture and Requirements Division (SARD) Chief
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Martin Yapur
Policies, Procedures, and System Assurance Division (PPSAD), Chief (acting)
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Policies, Procedures, and Systems Assurance Division

The PPSAD facilitates enterprise-wide, consistent approaches to work across the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS). PPSAD does this by writing and publishing NESDIS-level policies and procedures, from handbooks for project managers, project teams, and system engineers to plans for NESDIS on how to perform configuration management. PPSAD also guides enterprise-wide decision-making by ensuring compliance with top-level requirements, leading enterprise risk management, and communicating technical aspects of the enterprise architecture to outside entities.

  • The office of Technology, Planning, and Integration for Observation (TPIO) is part of OSAAP as of April 2020.

System Architecture and Requirements Division

The SARD works in three environments: in space, on the ground, and in the cloud. Because these environments don’t exist in a vacuum or independently, the SARD knows how these systems and requirements intertwine to guarantee their success as a whole in fulfilling NOAA’s mission.



  • NASA
  • DoD 
  • USAF
  • USSF