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Joint Polar Satellite System

From our global observations to your local weather forecast
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NOAA and NASA work together in a joint JPSS Program Office, which oversees the development of instruments, spacecraft, ground system and science. In addition to NOAA and NASA, JPSS is supported by a large number of contracting companies, academic institutions and research organizations.

Gregory Mandt

Gregory A. Mandt


Gregory Mandt has overall responsibility for the JPSS Program. In this role, Mandt oversees the development, acquisition, integration, installation, and acceptance of major system elements (spacecraft, instruments, launch services and ground systems) for the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP and JPSS-1/2/3/4 satellites. Previously he was the System Program Director for the GOES-R Series program for nine years, culminating in the successful launch of the GOES-R/16 satellite in November 2016.

Previously, Mandt served as the Director, Office of Science and Technology and was responsible for science and technology infusion within the National Weather Service including science and engineering planning, acquisition and refresh of critical technologies, and the scientific developments of the Meteorological Development Laboratory. Previous assignments in the NWS included Director of the Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services from 2000 to 2005 and Chief of the Science Branch, Office of Meteorology, from 1996 to 2000.

Mandt was also the Program Manager and Lead Engineer for the Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite (POES) Program from 1992 to 1996.

During his 14 year tenure as an officer in the United States Air Force, Mandt held management and executive level positions including Acquisition Manager of the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP), Executive Officer for the Space Systems Division, Chief, Spacecraft Engineering Branch, DMSP Program Office, Research Engineer, Flight Dynamics Laboratory, and Flight Test Engineer.

Mandt holds a Master of Science degree in Systems Engineering and a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering, both from the Air Force Institute of Technology. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Mechanics from the United States Air Force Academy. He is also a graduate of the Defense Systems Management College Program Management Course.

Ajay Mehta

Ajay Mehta

Deputy Director

Ajay is the Deputy Director for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) - the United States’ next-generation polar orbiting weather, environment and climate satellite system. Ajay is responsible for providing leadership and management for the execution of this $11.3 billion dollar program. Ajay joined JPSS in 2011 and was a member of the transition team that planned and executed the transition from the NPOESS program to JPSS.

In addition to overall leadership/management responsibilities, he has led teams and initiatives to define requirements, stabilize budgets, develop the JPSS organization and engage partner organizations.

Ajay comes to JPSS from NOAA’s Office of Satellite and Product Operations where he was the Deputy Director. He was responsible for the line management of five Divisions comprising more than 300 employees and 250 contractors. The responsibilities for the Office included the command and control of more than 18 geostationary and polar-orbiting environmental satellites, provision of products and services to national and international users, management of the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility as well as two Command and Data Acquisition Stations, and leading programmatic partnerships for satellite-aided search and rescue, data collection systems, and the National Ice Center.

Ajay has represented NOAA on various management teams, boards and councils and was the U.S. Representative to the 40-nation Cospas-Sarsat Council. Prior assignments include serving in a leadership/management position within NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration and NOAA’s Emergency Response Program; leading the implementation of a performance metric system in the U.S. Coast Guard; and supporting NOAA’s Deepwater Horizon Commander as the lead for strategic planning for NOAA’s activities in response to the Gulf oil spill. He has also managed NOAA's search and rescue program and supported NOAA's Office of Satellite Data Processing and Distribution in maintaining systems and software for product processing. Ajay has led teams that have earned the Department of Commerce’s Gold and Bronze Medals for leadership.

Tom McCarthy

Tom McCarthy

Acting Associate Director/Program Manager

Tom McCarthy is NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Deputy Director of Flight Project Directorate, Acting Associate Director and Acting Program Manager for the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) Program. Mr. McCarthy has 36 years of experience in the aerospace industry with more than half this time spent with General Dynamics/Lockheed Missiles & Space/GE/RCA/Martin Marietta/Lockheed Martin in the Thermal Systems as well as the Systems Integrations.

He joined Goddard in 2001 as the Chief Technology Engineer for the Thermal Engineering Branch, served as the Applied Engineering & Technology Directorate Chief Engineer from 2005 thru 2007; as the Division Chief for the Mission Engineering and Systems Analysis Division from 2007 to 2010; as the Deputy Associate Director for Earth Science Projects from 2010 to 2013 and as the Associate Director for Earth Science Projects at Goddard as well as the Program Manager for both the Earth Systematic Missions Program and the Reimbursable Projects Program at NASA Headquarters from 2013 to 2015.

He holds a master's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Villanova University, an MBA in International Business from the Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science and is a registered Professional Engineer in Maryland and Pennsylvania.