For the first time, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under its Commercial Weather Data Pilot program, has contracted to purchase satellite weather data from a commercial provider, that being GeoOptics.
GeoOptics is launching a constellation of smallsats designed to create the most detailed picture of the Earth’s atmosphere, surface and subsurface ever assembled. The first satellites are deploying advanced Global Positioning System Radio Occultation (GPS-RO) sensors developed in partnership with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Tyvak Nanosatellite Systems. Future satellites will expand upon and refine this technology and deploy several other technologies to provide a precise and complete picture of the Earth’s environment.
NOAA’s Commercial Weather Data Pilot was established earlier this year to “assess the potential viability of commercial weather data in [NOAA’s] weather modeling and forecasting.” The program is funded “to purchase, evaluate, and calibrate available data, which meets the standards and specifications set by NOAA in its Commercial Data Policy.”
GeoOptics CEO, Conrad Lautenbacher, stated that his firm is looking forward to demonstrating that commercial satellite data purchases can enable the unmatched efficiencies of the private sector to help NOAA accomplish the vital mission of the agency to protect and inform the public.