The ground system supplies two major functional areas: (1) spacecraft and instrument health and safety monitoring, commanding, and operations analysis; and (2) Imager and Sounder instrument data processing. For each operational GOES spacecraft, the ground system ingests the raw instrument sensor data stream and generates a processed data stream that is transmitted back to the GOES for rebroadcast to the primary weather system users. For each operational spacecraft, the ground system also provides synchronous orbit and attitude determination to support the GOES system image navigation and registration function. Additionally, for each operational or standby GOES, the ground system provides orbit predictions, maneuver planning and commanding, and telemetry processing and analysis to support daily and periodic satellite operations. The ground system subsystems are located at the NOAA CDA station at Wallops, Virginia, and the SOCC at Suitland, Maryland.

The Weather Facsimile (WEFAX) Service facilitates the retransmission of images and meteorological analysis from the Wallops CDA ground station to the user community. Data originate from the NWS and NOAA image processing facilities.

The Data Collecton System (DCS) provides for near real-time acquisition and relay of environmental data for centralized archiving and distribution. The data are used to provide warnings and forecasts of environmental events such as tsunamis, tropical cyclones, and floods. They also are used to map river states, soil conditions, and snow depth.

The GOES I-M satellites provide continued support for the communications paths between Earth-situated DCPs in the Western Hemisphere on 200 domestic and 100 international channels. The spacecraft can be programmed to support DCS operating frequencies of either the Japanese or the European geostationary satellites. As an adjunct to the DCS capability, GOES will continue to relay a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) time code for users throughout the hemisphere.