Purpose & Mission

The Level-1 and Atmosphere Archive & Distribution System (LAADS) Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC), located in the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is one of twelve NASA EOSDIS DAACs, whose discipline domain is atmospheric science. The LAADS DAAC serves the global NASA Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), and Suomi NPP (SNPP) Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) science and applications communities through efficient access to science data products, services, tools, and all related resources.


The LAADS DAAC’s mission includes the following functions:

  • Provide public access to the following data collections:
    • All levels of both NASA Terra and Aqua MODIS-derived science data products.
    • All levels of NASA standard versions of the NPP Suomi VIIRS-derived science products in the near future.
    • European Space Agency’s (ESA) Envisat Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) and Copernicus-Sentinel-3 SLSTR and OLCI collections.
    • MODIS Airborne Simulator (MAS) and Autonomous Modular Sensor (AMS) airborne collections.
    • Certain ancillary data collections.
  • In order to facilitate the immediate data requirements of the MODIS science, calibration, and validation teams, provide access to a complement of MODIS land products. In the near future, provide a parallel set of VIIRS land products to similarly support the NASA VIIRS science stakeholders.
  • Enable user interactions, through the LAADS Web interface, to search, visualize, post-process, and order/download desired data products.
  • Provide web services (based on both open standards and in-house APIs) as additional means to acquire desired data products.
  • Offer access to relevant open source tools to handle the LAADS product collections.
  • Provide information about products including known issues that affect product quality.
  • Provide access to all relevant resources to help LAADS data users, and mechanisms for them to communicate with the LAADS DAAC User Services.

The LAADS DAAC was established in 2007 to distribute MODIS Level-1 and Atmosphere science products produced by the MODIS Adaptive Processing System (MODAPS), which is one of the Science Investigator-led Processing Systems (SIPS). LAADS is collocated with MODAPS at GSFC, and the two systems share common software, hardware, network infrastructure, and support staff.

In late 2016, MODAPS began producing and distributing NASA standard versions of the Suomi NPP VIIRS Level-1 and Land science data products. The LAADS DAAC will archive and distribute these products as well as VIIRS atmosphere products (produced by the SNPP Atmosphere SIPS located at the Space Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison). In early 2017, LAADS began distributing Copernicus-Sentinel-3 data products from the European Space Agency’s Copernicus programme.

The following MODAPS–LAADS diagram provides a synoptic view of MODAPS’ data flow dynamics stemming from its production activities that generate various data products that are archived and distributed by LAADS and other data centers. The primary objective of this diagram is to portray MODAPS as a central data provider, whose evolving SIPS components support and sustain both Level-1 and higher-level atmosphere and land data processing requirements for LAADS and its various NASA stakeholders.


Last updated: December 2, 2019