NASA’s Terra, Aqua, and Aura Drifting Orbits Workshop: Request for Information

Sep 16, 2022

NASA recently released a Request for Information (RFI) entitled “NASA’s Terra, Aqua, and Aura Drifting Orbits Workshop”. The announcement describes an opportunity for you to express your perspective on the value of continuing the Earth Observing System (EOS) observations. The announcement is distributed via NASA NSPIRES and includes a link to the RFI, as well as further information in a FAQ document that will be updated as needed. RFI responses (three-page limit) are due by October 11 via NSPIRES.

Responses will provide input for a community workshop (date TBD). The community workshop and the RFI responses will inform NASA HQ on the unique scientific contributions and applications that will result from continuing Terra, Aqua, and Aura observations through the next several years of orbital drift. See the RFI text for a description of the requested response topics, and the FAQ document (Question 3) for details on the anticipated orbital drift timeline for each mission.

Request for Information: NASA’s Terra, Aqua, and Aura Drifting Orbits Workshop

Number: NNH22ZDA018L

Release Date:  September 08, 2022

Response Date: October 11, 2022

Short Direct URL:

This email announces the release of a Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Request for Information (RFI) via NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System (NSPIRES) that seeks input from the science community that will be considered in the development and implementation of a Terra, Aqua, and Aura (T, A &A) Drifting Orbits workshop planned for later this calendar year. NASA Headquarters Earth Science Division (ESD) requests input from the science community addressing 1) science that is uniquely enabled by observations during the period of orbital drift and 2) the benefits to and impact on current societal applications.

The RFI seeks information for planning purposes only. NASA does not intend to award a contract or assistance, i.e., grant or cooperative agreement, funding at this time. As stipulated in FAR 15.201(e), responses to this notice are not considered offers and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract.

The most recent Senior Review for NASA’s Earth science operating missions (available at: discussed the aging Terra, Aqua, and Aura spacecrafts and recommended further study of science possibilities near their lives’ end. All three satellites currently have sufficient remaining propellant to continue operations for a few more years, but the amount of propellant is insufficient in each case to maintain the platforms in controlled equatorial Mean Local Time (MLT) polar orbits. This orbital drift suggests that, for many purposes, the future observations will have reduced scientific and application value compared to data from fixed MLT orbits.

RFI responses should address the potential for new, unique science made possible with the observations provided by the orbital drift of the platforms. All responses to this RFI must be submitted in an electronic format only via NSPIRES, the official NASA source for the full text of the RFI. In the event of a lapse in NASA operations, please visit

Please email questions and comments concerning this RFI to the point of contact’s email address and use in the subject line: “NASA’s T, A & A Drifting Orbits Workshop RFI Question/Clarification.”

Depending on the nature of the question(s), NASA may respond on an individual basis by email or may post questions and answers (Q&A) of broad interest or general clarification on the RFI’s NSPIRES landing page. Posted Q&As will be edited to preserve the submitter’s anonymity. The following email address is not to be used for RFI response submissions; any RFI submissions made via email will not be considered.

ESD Point of Contact:

Note: Please visit NSPIRES and carefully review the RFI’s full text and any Q&As before emailing.