NOAA Releases RFI for Space Weather Commercial Pilot Program

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — On November 10, 2021, NOAA released a Request for Information (RFI) soliciting information on existing or planned commercial space-based space weather data and related capabilities that will be available in the timeframe of 2022 through 2027. 

This solicitation is being issued pursuant to direction in the Promoting Research and Observations of Space Weather to Improve the Forecasting of Tomorrow (PROSWIFT) Act (Public Law 116-181). In addition, the NOAA Commercial Space Policy and the NESDIS Commercial Space Activities Assessment Process call for NOAA to explore and, where appropriate, pursue demonstration projects to assess the viability of assimilating commercially-provided satellite data and products to improve weather forecasting and diversify NOAA’s portfolio of data collection capabilities. 

Through this RFI, NOAA seeks information from industry on existing and planned space weather observation data sources and related capabilities that may help NOAA meet NOAA’s space weather mission objectives. The RFI will be open for 28 days with responses due no later than December 8, 2021, 4 PM [EST]. The responses received will be used to inform plans for future space-based space weather Commercial Weather Data Pilot studies and other commercial data acquisition activities.

NOAA’s Commercial Data Program continues to successfully engage with the commercial sector through pilots and acquisition of operational satellite data-as-a-service for commercial radio occultation data to help improve weather forecasts and provide risk reduction to the overall observing system. The latest updates and activities in NOAA’s Commercial Data Program are available on the “Business with NOAA” section of the Office of Space Commerce website.

House Infrastructure Bill Includes $173 Million to Improve Space Weather Forecasting

An artist’s rendering of the Space Weather Follow-on L1 satellite. (Credit: NOAA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The House Science Committee approved an infrastructure bill that provides an additional $173 million to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to accelerate the development and launch of the Space Weather Follow-On Lagrange-1 (SWFO-L1) mission. The spacecraft, scheduled for launch in 2024, will monitor the solar wind and coronal mass ejections from the Earth-sun L-1 Lagrange point.

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Gardner and Peters’ Bipartisan Bill to Predict and Mitigate Space Weather Signed Into Law

An image taken from the International Space Station shows orange swaths of airglow hovering in Earth’s atmosphere. NASA’s new Atmospheric Waves Experiment will observe this airglow from a perch on the space station to help scientists understand, and ultimately improve forecasts of, space weather changes in the upper atmosphere. (Credits: NASA)

Washington, D.C. (Cory Gardner/Gary Peters PR) – U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gary Peters (D-MI) today applauded the signing into law of their bipartisan legislation to strengthen the nation’s ability to predict severe space weather events and mitigate their harmful impacts on Earth. A severe space weather event, such as a solar flare or coronal mass ejection, has the potential to seriously disrupt the electric power grid, communications networks including cellular phones and GPS, satellites, and aircraft operations.

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PROSWIFT Space Weather Bill Signed into Law

Space weather effects. (Credit: ESA/Science Office)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

President Donald Trump has signed a bill to reorganize and strengthen the nation’s monitoring of and response to space weather, albeit with some reservations about its impact on foreign policy and national security.

The Promoting Research and Observations of Space Weather to Improve the Forecasting of Tomorrow Act (PROSwift) assigns roles to federal departments and establishes an interagency working group to coordinate their activities.

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House Science Committee Approves Space Weather Bill

Space weather effects. (Credit: ESA/Science Office)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The House Science Committee has unanimously approved a bill designed to enable the federal government to coordinate its monitoring of and response to space weather events.

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