A new planning and scheduling system for Earth observation satellites (EOS) will help NASA scientists build complex models of the Earth's ecosystem.

The software, designed by scientists at NASA Ames Research Center and Goddard Space Flight Center, will coordinate the observations made by entire fleets of satellites, a task currently done manually by each satellite's individual mission operation center.

"There's a scientific need for multiple sources of Earth science data to explain complex phenomena. Gathering it requires coordination in instrument scheduling and operations," says Robert Morris, a computer scientist at NASA Ames. Morris and his team are using automated scheduling technology to coordinate satellite imaging and manage the increasing volume of data from missions. The science team will design algorithms that can be used to integrate new observation requests with an EOS constellation's existing operation plan. "Through this sort of automation and coordination, the ultimate outcome will be more useful scientific data," says Morris.