NOAA has awarded Spire Global and GeoOptics contracts worth a combined $23 million to provide radio occultation data from satellites the agency will use to improve its weather forecasting.
Under the two-year Commercial Weather Data Operational Buy contracts, the companies’ satellites will measure how Global Navigation Satellite System radio signals bend as they travel through the atmosphere.
NOAA will use data collected on temperatures, pressure and water vapor to better model and forecast the weather.
San Francisco-based Spire Global and GeoOptics of Pasadena, Calif., will share the $23 million award in accordance with the data the companies provide.
The contracts are a follow-on to the Commercial Weather Data Pilot program under which Spire Global and GeoOptics provided radio occultation data to NOAA for evaluation.
NOAA concluded earlier this year that the provided data were of sufficient quality to warrant purchasing.
NOAA will purchase radio occultation (RO) data from commercial companies after determining that the measurements are useful in improving weather forecasting.
In a report released last week, NOAA said measurements provided by Spire Global and GeoOptics satellites during the second round of the Commercial Weather Data Pilot (CWDP) program in 2018 and 2019 demonstrated the utility of commercial RO data.
SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — With predictions for an above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, NOAA forecasters have added meteorological muscle from a new combination of satellite data flowing into its computer models.
The Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate (COSMIC-2) is a new fleet of six small satellites launched last June. Since May 26, the constellation has begun feeding more than 4,000 vertical sets of measurements of atmospheric temperature and humidity in the tropics and subtropics daily into our forecast models. Measuring the moisture in and around tropical cyclones is important because it is a key ingredient for their development and intensification.
PASADENA, Calif. (GeoOptics PR) — GeoOptics, Inc. (GeoOptics) announced today the launch of an original radio occultation data processing system called the GeoOptics Processor for Radio Occultation (GeoPRO) that provide even more accurate and timely weather data from its CICERO constellation of radio occultation (RO) satellites. CICERO nanosatellites are designed to create the most detailed picture ever assembled of the Earth’s ionosphere and atmosphere.
The Trump Administration is proposing a 13.57 percent reduction in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) budget for fiscal year (FY) 2021, according to budget documents.
The $4.63 billion proposal would cut NOAA spending by $727.64 million below the FY 2020 budget. Although key satellite and commercial data purchasing programs would received increases, dozens of other programs would see their funding reduced or eliminated completely.
NOAA’s climate change research programs would be reduced by more than half from $169.5 million to $83.2 million. President Donald Trump has called global warming a hoax invented by the Chinese government to destroy the American economy.
DENVER, Colorado (July 9, 2019) — PlanetiQ, the high-definition satellite-based weather forecasting and analytics company, today announced it has completed an $18.7 million Series B round of financing.
New Science Ventures and AV8 Ventures co-led the investment round with participation from existing and new investors, Valo Ventures, Kodem Growth Partners, Access Venture Partners, Virginia Tech Carilion Innovation Fund, Hemisphere Ventures, Service Provider Capital, Earth Investments, Moonshots Capital, and a large Kansas City-based family office that wishes to remain anonymous.
GUILDFORD, UK (Surrey Satellite PR) — The successful launch on 24 June 2019 (EST) of 6 satellites for the FORMOSAT-7 joint US-Taiwanese weather forecasting constellation marks the start of another SSTL-enabled space mission, a cause for celebration at SSTL’s UK HQ.
HAWTHORNE, Calif. (SpaceX PR) — The Department of Defense (DoD) Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission, managed by the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), is targeting launch on June 24, 2019, with the launch window opening at 11:30 p.m. ET. Lifting off from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, this mission will deliver 24 satellites to space on the DoD’s first ever SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch vehicle.
The STP-2 mission will be among the most challenging launches in SpaceX history with four separate upper-stage engine burns, three separate deployment orbits, a final propulsive passivation maneuver and a total mission duration of over six hours. In addition, the U.S. Air Force plans to reuse side boosters from the Arabsat-6A Falcon Heavy launch, recovered after a return to launch site landing, making it the first reused Falcon Heavy ever flown for the U.S. Air Force. (more…)
WASHINGTON, June 11, 2019 (NOAA PR) —COSMIC-2, a mission of six satellites designed to improve weather forecasts and space weather monitoring, is set to launch no earlier than June 24 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.
Last week, we took a look at the significant increase in NASA’s budget for FY 2019. In this story, we will examine the budget increases for the Commerce Department — which manages the nation’s weather satellites — and the Department of Transportation, which oversees commercial launches. We will also take a look how the White House’s National Space Council fared.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
NOAA’s satellite programs received $1,45 billion, which is an increase of $55 million over FY 2018. The bulk of the funding is designated for the GOES-R, Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) and Polar Follow-on (PFO) programs. The amounts include:
SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 11, 2018 (Spire Global PR) — Spire Global, Inc, the world’s largest space to cloud analytics company, today announced Spire’s most recently launched satellites are the first satellites in the world to use Galileo GNSS signals to measure radio occultation (GNSS-RO) profiles in a production capacity for the weather community.
This industry first was announced today at The Morgan Stanley Space Summit in NYC, and will now be offered to the entire audience of Spire’s global user base as a new tier of data for advanced weather prediction. These satellites are also part of a larger collaborative European Space Agency (ESA )program called ARTES Pioneer ‘Space As A Service’. The new satellite deployments represent the first Spire satellites launched through the Pioneer program for ESA, which is supported by the UK Space Agency.
SRIHARIKOTA, India (ESA PR) — The first ‘Pioneer’ mission lifted off last week from Sriharikota, India, with the two inventive little nanosatellites now circling the Earth, ready for action.
The shoebox-sized satellites were launched at 04:27 GMT into low Earth orbit by the Indian Space Research Organisation’s PLSV launcher, and opened their first communication windows with their owner, Spire Global, less than an hour after they separated from the rocket.
WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — NESDIS has awarded contracts to three satellite companies as part of the Commercial Weather Data Pilot (CWDP) Round Two.
Awardees Spire, GeoOptics, and PlanetIQ will each provide space-based radio occultation data to NOAA for the purpose of demonstrating data quality and potential value to NOAA’s weather forecasts and warnings.
NOAA has issued a request for proposals for the second phase of its commercial weather data pilot program.
The program’s goal is to determine whether GPS radio occultation data from commercial satellites can be used to improve weather forecasting. Radio occultation involves the change in a radio signal as it passes through Earth’s atmosphere, allowing for the measurement of physical properties there.
The firm-fixed price contracts for the second phase will run from Aug. 27, 2018 through Sept. 30, 2019. The data collection and delivery period will run from Oct. 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.
Companies are required to provide at least two periods of at least three consecutive months of radio occultation data during the collection period. A minimum of 500 atmospheric soundings per day are required. Data must be delivered to NOAA at least once per week.
NASA issued contracts to GeoOptics and Spire for the first phase of the pilot program in September 2016. Space Newsreports the program did not go very smoothly, but that NOAA officials had learned a number of key lessons from it that are being included in the second phase.
GeoOptics’ contract was terminated when the company was unable to provide data because of delays in the launch of its first satellites.
While Spire did provide data, NOAA officials said later that the quality of the data fell short of expectations. “We have gone through one contract already with the radio occultation community, and we found that the data aren’t accurate enough or comprehensive enough yet to meet our observing requirements,” Stephen Volz, NOAA assistant administrator for satellite and information services, said in January. Spire said that the data from its constellation of cubesats has improved significantly since the end of that initial round of the pilot program in April 2017.
NOAA officials have said for several months that they are working on a report analyzing the results of that first round of the Commercial Weather Data Pilot. However, NOAA spokesman John Leslie said May 7 that the report is still “nearing competition” within the agency and will be released publicly once it is completed.