GEOScan: A Global, Real-Time Geoscience Facility
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GEOScan is a proposed space-based facility of globally networked instruments that will provide revolutionary, massively dense global geosciences observations. Major scientific research projects are typically conducted using two approaches: community facilities, and investigator lead focused missions. While science from space is almost exclusively conducted within the mission model, GEOScan is a new concept designed as a constellation facility from space utilizing a suite of space-based sensors that optimizes the scientific value across the greatest number of scientific disciplines in the earth and geosciences, while constraining cost and accommodation related parameters. Our grassroots design processes target questions that have not, and will not be answered until simultaneous global measurements are made. The relatively small size, mass, and power of the GEOScan instruments make them an ideal candidate for a hosted payload aboard a global constellation of communication satellites, such as the Iridium NEXT's 66-satellite constellation. This paper will focus on the design and planning components of this new type of heterogeneous, multi-node facility concept, such as: costing, design for manufacture, science synergy, and operations of this non-traditional mission concept. We will demonstrate that this mission design concept has distinct advantages over traditional monolithic satellite missions for a number of scientific measurement priorities and data products due to the constellation configuration, scaled manufacturing and facility model. 2013 IEEE.