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May 2020 Update

The SBG Architecture Study is now approaching the end of Phase 2.  In Phase 1, information contained in the Decadal Survey ( ) was used to develop a Science and Applications Traceability Matrix linking the NASA 2017 Decadal Survey-defined science objectives to specific measurement capabilities, based in many cases on the analysis of specific data products and the algorithms needed to produce them from spectroscopic or thermal observations.  The SATM was extensively vetted and iterated during SBG community workshops and Working Group activities and went through a number of versions reflecting community concerns.

At the same time, the SBG Architecture Team developed a wide range of approaches to meeting the SATM objectives, casting a very wide net, and exploring traditional, innovative and “new space” approaches involving small satellites and miniature instruments, as well as partnerships with international space agencies. Requests for Information were released by SBG and the responses from the community, NASA centers and industry, were key to identifying elements of the SBG architecture. 

In Phase 2, this universe of options was winnowed by evaluating their performance against the SATM science and applications objectives, cost, risk and partnership opportunities.  A much-reduced number of options is currently in final evaluation, and the SBG team is preparing to send a short list of high science value, cost effective architectures to NASA HQ for a decision.

 Once that decision is made, the SBG team will pivot and hand off the information developed during the study to the mission implementation team, who will work towards a Mission Confirmation Review in 2021, which, if successful, will put SBG on track for a launch in the mid-to-late 2020s. 

The SBG team invites the science, applications and space-science communities to a continuing series of webinars to engage with progress and recommended architectures for community input.  The first webinar will be on the 27th of May at 1:00 PM EDT (1700 UTC) and will present, first the science and application guidance used by the architecture teams, and second, the process and status of the architecture activity, as it nears a final set of recommended architectures.

The second webinar, on July 15th at 12:00 EDT (1600 UTC) will begin with a review of the science and applications metrics used to score architectures to be followed by a presentation of the recommended options, a preferred option, and two high-value alternates.  The SBG team will review the process for community feedback, and NASA HQ staff, including Charles Webb, Associate Director for Flight Programs, Earth Science Division, who will discuss the next steps, leading to a decision.

Prior to each webinar, the SBG team will distribute summary material and request that questions be submitted in advance, although there will also be opportunities for Q and A during the webinars as well.  In addition, prior to the 15 July event, summary information on the three final candidate architectures and a response form to facilitate feedback from the community will be distributed, and available on the SBG website (  Following each webinar, following the process established with the first webinar, held on March 26th, a summary will be posted (see, along with the presentation material.

Input received at the May and July workshops, will be summarized and will be part of the package transmitted to NASA HQ by the SBG team.

Please register for Webinars 1 and 2 to ensure that you receive WebEx login details, timely updates, and other materials described above!  Register at


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