The EUMETSAT Polar System (EPS) ground station is located on Spitsbergen, Svalbard, (78°N), providing the capacity to receive the data from all Metop orbits.
There are two separate Command and Data Acquisition (CDA) stations. Each provide the capability for the monitoring and control of the Metop satellite and the acquisition of the X-band global scientific instrument data and S-band telemetry recorded each orbit on board the satellite.
The stations can also acquire data from the NOAA satellites — in particular for those orbits that are not visible (NOAA blind orbit support) from the NOAA ground stations in Fairbanks and Wallops Island in the USA.
The Metop and NOAA global data are transmitted from the ground station to the EUMETSAT headquarters, for processing, archiving and further distribution to the user community.
Communication from Svalbard to the central site is via a fibre optic link, with a satellite communication link as a backup.
The NOAA mission control centre in Washington DC, has the opportunity to monitor and control the NOAA satellites via the Svalbard ground station.
The NOAA Fairbanks station provides a similar service for Metop, complementing the service provided by the European Space Agency Satellite Operations Centre (ESOC) with part of its network of S-Band stations, if the Svalbard ground station becomes unavailable.