NOAA Satellite Information System

System Use Policy

I.   BACKGROUND

The Argos Data Collection System (Argos DCS) is operated through a cooperative program between the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), France’s Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The Argos DCS is managed by NOAA, CNES, EUMETSAT and ISRO jointly through the Argos Operations Committee. The system consists of: instruments provided by CNES, which are flown aboard NOAA, EUMETSAT and ISRO polar-orbiting satellites; user supplied platform transmitter terminals (PTTs) or platform message transceivers (PMTs); and global and regional data processing centres.

NOAA is authorized to enter this agreement under the authority granted to it in 15 USC 313 and 49 USC 44720.

CNES is authorized to enter this agreement under the authority granted to it by Act 61-1382 of December 19, 1961.

EUMETSAT is authorized to enter this agreement according to the agreement signed in Paris on February 27, 2001 between EUMETSAT and CNES governing the cooperation relative to the delivery, integration and exploitation of the Argos data collection and platform location system on board METOP satellites.

ISRO is authorized to enter this agreement according to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on February 23, 2007 between ISRO and CNES governing the cooperation related to the Argos payload on board SARAL satellite.


II.   ARGOS SYSTEM USE POLICY

1.   SCOPE.

a)   This policy applies to any person who operates or proposes to operate data collection platforms to be used with the Argos DCS either directly or through an affiliate or subsidiary.

b)   These policies apply to all existing Argos DCS users as well as all future agreements for use of the Argos DCS.


2.   DEFINITIONS.

For purposes of this agreement and policy:

a)   Approving Authority means the Argos participating agencies, via the Argos Operations Committee.

b)   Argos DCS means the system which collects data from fixed and moving platforms and provides platform location data. This system consists of platforms, the Argos French instrument on NOAA, EUMETSAT and ISRO polar-orbiting satellites; a ground processing system; and telemetry ground stations.

c)   Argos participating agencies means those agencies that participate in the management of the Argos DCS; currently this includes NOAA, CNES, EUMETSAT and ISRO.

d)   Environmental data means environmental measurement and environmental protection data.

e)   Environmental measurement data means data that relate to the characteristics of the Earth and its natural phenomena by helping to better understand, evaluate, or monitor its natural resources.

f)   Environmental protection data means data that relate to the characteristics of the Earth and its environment (including its ecosystems and the species which inhabit them) by helping to protect against any unreasonable adverse effects thereto.

g)   Environmental Use means the use of the Argos DCS for the collection of environmental data.

h)   Episodic use means the use of the Argos DCS for short events where there is a significant possibility of loss of life, such as for Arctic expeditions or scientific campaigns into remote areas.

i)   Government interest means that the use is determined in advance to be of interest to one or more governmental entities of the United States, one of the member or cooperating states of EUMETSAT, or India.

j)   Government user means agencies of international governmental organizations, national government or any subdivision thereof, or any of those agencies’ contractors or grantees, so long as the contractor is using the data collected by the Argos DCS to fulfill its contractual obligations to the government agency or in the case of a grantee that these data are being used in accordance with the statement of work for the award.

k)   Non-profit user means a not-for-profit academic, research, or other non-governmental organization, which is using these data, for education and/or scientific, non-commercial purposes.

l)   Operational use means the use of data in a situation where the utility of the data are significantly reduced if not collected or delivered in a specific time window. This includes situations where extensive preparation work is in place and a delay in acquisition of data would jeopardize the project.

m)   Operator means the Argos Operation Committee members elected to represent participating agencies for Argos users.

n)   Platform compatibility means the compatibility of the platform with the space segment of the system, and includes elements such as message length and composition, signal strength, and transmission protocol (e.g., continuous versus event driven).

o)   Testing use means the use of the Argos DCS by manufacturers of platforms for use in conjunction with the Argos DCS, for the limited purpose of testing and certifying the compatibility of new platforms with the technical requirements of the Argos DCS.

p)   Sensitive Use means the use of the Argos DCS where the users’ requirements dictate the use of a governmental system such as national security, homeland security, law enforcement, and humanitarian operations.

q)   User means the entity and/or organization which owns or operates user platforms for the purpose of collecting and transmitting data through the Argos DCS, or the organization requiring the collection of the data.

r)   User platform means devices, designed in accordance with the specifications delineated and approved by the Approving Authority, used for the in-situ collection and subsequent transmission of data via the Argos DCS. Those devices which are used in conjunction with the Argos DCS are referred to as platform transmitter terminals (PTTs) or platform message transceivers (PMTs). For the purpose of this policy, the terms user platform, PTT and PMT are interchangeable.

s)   User requirement means the requirement expressed and explained in the System Use Agreement.


3.   USE OF ARGOS DATA COLLECTION SYSTEM.

a)   Use of the Argos DCS will only be authorized in accordance with the conditions and requirements set forth in paragraphs (b), (c), and (d) of this section.

b)   (1)   Use of the Argos DCS will only be authorized where it is determined that there are no commercial space-based services available that meet the user’s requirements.

b)   (2)   A determination under (b) (1), above, must be based on such factors as satellite coverage, accuracy, data throughput, platform power consumption, size and weight, service continuity and reliability, platform compatibility, system access mode, dual GPS / Argos location and, in the case of government agencies, cost-effectiveness.

c)   (1) Except as provided in paragraphs (2), (3), (4), and (5) of this section, Argos DCS shall only be used for the collection of environmental data by governmental and/or non-profit users.

c)   (2)   Non-governmental, environmental use of the Argos DCS is only authorized where there is a Government interest in the collection and/or receipt of the data.

c)   (3)   Except as provided in paragraph (c) (4) of this section, non-environmental use of the Argos DCS is only authorized for government use and non-profit users where there is a government interest. The Argos DCS will continue to be predominantly used for environmental applications. Non-environmental use of the system shall be limited to sensitive use, and to episodic use as defined below in (c) (4) of this section.

c)   (4)   Episodic use of the Argos DCS may also be authorized where specific instances when there is a significant possibility for loss of life. Such use shall be closely monitored.

c)   (5)   Testing use of the Argos DCS will only be authorized for manufacturers of Argos DCS platforms, that require access to the system in order to test and certify prototype and production models.

d)   In the event that Argos DCS capacity limitations require that priority determinations be made, priority will be given to those platforms that provide environmental data of broad international interest, especially of an operational nature, and to those requiring the unique capabilities of the Argos DCS, such as platform location or polar coverage.


4.   ARGOS DATA COLLECTION SYSTEM USE AGREEMENTS.

a)   In order to use the Argos DCS, each user must have an agreement with the approving authority for that system.

b)   These agreements will address, but may not be limited to, the following matters:

b)   (1)   The period of time the agreement is valid and procedures for its termination,

b)   (2)   The authorized use(s), and its priorities for use,

b)   (3)   The extent of the availability of commercial space-based services which meet the user’s requirements and the reasons for necessitating the use of the Argos DCS,

b)   (4)   Any applicable government interest in the data,

b)   (5)   Required equipment standards,

b)   (6)   Standards of operation,

b)   (7)   Conformance with applicable ITU and national agency radio frequency ¬agreements and regulations,

b)   (8)   Reporting time and frequencies,

b)   (9)   Data formats,

b)   (10)   Data delivery systems and schedules, and

b)   (11)   User-borne costs.

c)   The Approving Authority shall evaluate user requests and conclude agreements for use of the Argos DCS.

d)   (1)   Agreements for the collection, via the Argos DCS, of environmental data by government agencies or non-profit institutions shall be valid for 3 years from the date of initial in-situ deployment of the platforms, and may be renewed for additional 3-year periods.

d)   (2)   Agreements for the collection of environmental data, via the Argos DCS, by non-government users shall be valid for 1 year from the date of initial in-situ deployment of the platforms, and may be renewed for additional 1-year periods, but only for so long as there exists a governmental interest in the receipt of these data.

d)   (3)   Agreements for the collection of non-environmental data, via the Argos DCS, by government agencies, or non-profit institutions where there is a government interest, shall be valid for 1 year from the date of initial in-situ deployment of the platforms, and may be renewed for additional 1-year periods.

d)   (4)   Agreements for the episodic collection of non-environmental data, via the Argos DCS, shall be of short, finite duration not to exceed 1 year without exception, and usually shall not exceed 6 months. These agreements shall be closely monitored and shall not be renewed.

d)   (5)   Agreements for the testing use of the Argos DCS by equipment manufacturers shall be valid for 1 year from the date of initial testing, and may be renewed for additional 1-year periods.


5.   TREATMENT OF DATA.

a)   All Argos DCS users must agree to permit Argos Participating Agencies, and their governments’ agencies the full, open, timely, and appropriate use as determine by the Participating Agencies of all environmental data collected from their platforms; this may include the international distribution of environmental data under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization.

b)   Raw data from the Argos DCS space segment is openly transmitted and accessible.

c)   Accessibility of the Argos DCS processed data from the ground segment is handled in accordance with the user’s specifications and system design limitations, subject to the provisions stated in Data Treatment Section (a) of this policy.


6.   TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS.

a)   All platform operators of the Argos DCS must use a data collection platform radio set whose technical and design characteristics are certified to conform to applicable specifications and regulations.

b)   All platform operators are responsible for all costs associated with the procurement and operation of the platforms, and for the acquisition of data from those platforms, either directly from the satellite or from the applicable data processing centre.



III.   UNDERSTANDINGS

a)   The Argos Operations Committee reserves the right to terminate or suspend the user’s participation in this program in the event of spacecraft or ground equipment limitations requiring curtailment or elimination of services.

b)   PTTs which the user plans to implement as part of the Argos DCS are subject to type-certification by the operator before deployment. However, such certification does not imply any judgment or endorsement as to the PTT’s performance.



IV.   SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE USER

The user shall:

a)   Notify the Operator, within a reasonable time, of any changes to the program.

b)  Obtain and utilize PTTs manufactured and type-certified in accordance with the specifications and rules stipulated in the "Argos Platform Transmitter Terminal General Specifications and Certification" document available from the operator upon request.

c)   Obtain authorization from the appropriate national authorities to transmit on the frequency specified in the "General Specifications and Certification" document.

d)   Comply with all applicable laws and regulations, and the terms and conditions for operation of the system which have been agreed to by the Argos participating agencies (and which shall be available upon request).

e)   Provide periodic reports, upon request by the operator, on the uses of location and sensor data.

f)   Make all reasonable efforts to deactivate platforms which are either performing outside the system specifications; malfunctioning in a manner that interferes with the other platforms or with general system operations, or are in a program which has been terminated.



V.   SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIES OF OPERATOR

The operator shall:

a)   Oversee the collection, processing, and transmission of Argos data.

b)   Notify the user, through the agent, of changes to the established operational plan. Notification will normally be prior to initiation of such changes, except when sudden abnormal spacecraft or operational conditions preclude such prior notification. In any event, notification will be made as soon as possible.

c)   Notify the user, through the agent, by the most efficient means available, whenever Argos system monitoring indicates that a platform is performing outside system specifications or is malfunctioning in a manner that interferes with the other platforms or with general system operation; and require the user to make every reasonable effort to deactivate such a platform.



VI.   DISCLAIMERS

a)   The operator will make every effort to maintain the Argos DCS in full operation at all times subject to the availability of appropriations. The operator will bear no responsibility for any losses as a result of the non-availability of the DCS.

b)   The operator can not guarantee the timeliness of data dissemination, the accuracy of the data provided or their suitability for any application whatsoever, and cannot be held responsible for any damage, including loss of life, resulting from defective operation of the Argos DCS.

c)   In the event of damage being suffered by the goods or personnel of the user or third parties, and insofar as such damage arises out of the use of the equipment, the Operator shall not be liable.

d)   The user agrees not to make any claim or bring any action against the operators, or any of their employees or agents and the user agrees to indemnify and hold each such entity and individual harmless against any such claim or action brought by any third party and any award of damages, loss, or other expense incurred in connection therewith (including attorneys’ fees) where such claim or action is based, directly or indirectly in whole or in part on the use of the Argos system. Indemnification shall not be applicable in those instances where the user is not allowed by applicable law to indemnify.



VII.   PERIOD OF USE/TERMINATION

a)   Either party to the System Use Agreement may request amendments by letter to the signatories of this System Use Agreement and such amendments will take effect upon the consent of all parties.

b)   Within 30 days of the expiration of the approved period of use, users may request to renew the system use agreement. These agreements will be renewed in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. Renewal is not automatic, however, and there may be instances when the agreements will not be renewed.



VIII.   DISPUTE SETTLEMENT

In the case of any disputes arising out of the terms of this agreement, the matter will be referred to the Argos Operations Committee for settlement.

 

 

 

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