Earth-observing satellites send raw data to Earth, which measures parameters such as the following: air temperature, moisture, wind speed, and reflected radiation in different visible and invisible spectra. The remote sensing scientists have the authority to develop complex algorithms, translating these raw data into ‘products’. These ‘products’ can illustrate Earth phenomena, such as vegetation cover, soil moisture, cloud cover, wind speed and direction, concentrations of atmospheric pollutants, and numerous others.
The NOAA Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR) leads efforts to develop, test, validate and refine the science algorithms needed to drive user-defined products. STAR also investigates both enhanced and new sensor technology for future NOAA satellite missions, such as SNPP and JPSS. STAR research examines which products users will need, which includes: ocean, ecosystem, climate, and weather products—which carry out NOAA's mission goals. STAR supports the calibration and validation of all data in NOAA's satellite operations. In addition to maintaining existing calibration sites, STAR develops new methods for intercalibrating data from NOAA’s polar and geostationary satellites—in conjunction with other satellites in the evolving international system. In addition, STAR collaboratively develops efficient methods and technology to transfer new products from research to operations.