GeoOptics operated commercial satellites are expected to increase the daily radio occultation they NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) made a massive announcement on Feb 19. It intends to increase the number of radio occultations it receives on a daily basis from GeoOptics commercial satellites. Before the program commenced, NOAA did a thorough pilot program. Upon its completion, two companies, namely Spire Global and GeoOptics, won a contract in November. The agreement would go for two years, but there was no written limit as to what they would deliver as long as the cost didn’t exceed $23 million. To start with, the two companies were to deliver 500 radio occultation soundings every day for a period of 30 days.

In its news release announced in Space Commerce’s office, NOAA acknowledges that bit has used the Delivery Order-1 data successfully. The information was used in the verification of data quality, formatting, and conducting an end-to-end data flow teat. NOAA used its system responsible for ingesting, distributing and archiving data. It hen put it in the National Weather Prediction models.

Now, NOAA has a new order which gives GeoOptics the responsibility of supplying it with radio occultation soundings. The daily quantity is 1300 whereas the period is between March and September. This latest order also comes with another change. NOAA will obtain a license giving it the right to share it with various government agencies of the United States as soon as it receives it. Equally important, it will be in a position to share it with the public 24 hours later.

It is also important to note that NOAA plans to start combining the commercial radio occultation data into the operational numerical weather prediction models come May. It comes after verification that both the data and the system are up for the task. When it comes to feeding weather models, providing radio occultation data almost immediately and even immediately if possible becomes a necessity. Up to date, the value of the first order still remains a mystery to the majority. The case is no different for the second-order either.

As far as GeoOptics, NOAA is quite strict when it comes to requirements revolving around reliability, data quality, and latency. Its CEO Conrad Lautenbacher acknowledges Congress for giving NOAA the strong support that it needs to flourish. That’s how NOAA has come up with pioneering programs that have helped incorporate its core forecast products with commercial data sources that are remarkably innovative. Interestingly, Conrad was once the NOAA administrator. He went ahead to commend NOAA for setting a good pace for the commercial satellite data sector.