NOAA to Study New Technologies for Future Satellite Products, Services

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — NOAA plans to release three Broad Agency Announcements, or BAAs, that may lead to a review of advanced technologies for its future satellite and ground architecture, products and services.  

The BAAs – and the studies that will result – are part of NOAA’s Office of System Architecture and Advanced Planning (OSAAP) Joint Venture Program. Joint Venture examines the feasibility of partnering with other federal agencies, the academic community, or the commercial sector to develop promising innovative research and technology to meet NOAA’s future observational, product and service needs.

Specifically, the BAAs will explore technologies for: 

  • Measuring hyper-spectral microwave remote sensing observations;
  • Measuring 3-D atmospheric wind profiles; and 
  • Developing a digital twin system for Earth observations using Artificial Intelligence

These emerging technologies are to be investigated for their value in enhancing a variety of NOAA’s systems including Numerical Weather Prediction and satellite ground processing. The BAAs are a critical first step in assessing possibilities for the future and not tied to a particular mission or end need.

The BAAs will be posted on the federal contracts opportunities website: SAM.gov. Following the release of the BAAs there will be a Community Day for all interested parties as announced in the BAA. Based on the responses to the BAAs, NOAA will choose the best options to pursue.

SpaceX Launches 40 Satellites into Space

Falcon9 Transporter-4 launch. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

by David Bullock
Staff Writer

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla., April 1, 2022 — A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 40 payloads as part of the company’s Transporter-4 dedicated smallsat rideshare mission.

The rocket launched into a sun-synchronous orbit at 12:24 p.m. EDT. The mission manifest included the first satellite orbited by Pixxel of India, Kleos Space’s Patrol Mission, and 12 Spacebee communications satellites. A list of payloads is below.

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NOAA’s GOES-T Reaches Geostationary Orbit, Now Designated GOES-18

Illustration of the GOES-T spacecraft with Earth’s reflection. (Credits: Lockheed Martin)

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — On March 14, 2022, GOES-T executed its final engine burn, placing the satellite in geostationary orbit 22,236 miles above Earth. Upon reaching this milestone, GOES-T was renamed GOES-18. GOES satellites are designated with a letter prior to launch and a number once they achieve geostationary orbit.

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SaxaVord UK Spaceport and Met Office Reach Forecasting Agreement

Future launch site (Credit: SaxaVord UK Spaceport)

GRANTOWN ON SPREY, Scotland (SaxaVord UK Spaceport PR) — SaxaVord UK Spaceport is to install a weather station with the support of the Met Office, to help with forecasting for rocket launches.

The Met Office will advise on the most appropriate equipment and best location on the Lamba Ness peninsula where launches are to take place.

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NOAA’s GOES-T Weather Satellite Blasts into Orbit

A ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the GOES-T mission for NOAA and NASA lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at 4:38 p.m. EST on March 1. (Credit: ULA)

New satellite will support weather forecasts for the U.S. West Coast, Hawaii and Alaska

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — NOAA’s GOES-T, the third in a series of four advanced geostationary weather satellites, blasted into orbit aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket at 4:38 p.m. ET today from Cape Canaveral, Florida. GOES-T’s mission managers confirmed that its solar arrays successfully deployed at 8:28 p.m. EST, and the satellite was operating on its own power.

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United Launch Alliance Successfully Launches Advanced Weather Satellite GOES-T

A ULA Atlas V rocket carrying the GOES-T mission for NOAA and NASA lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 at 4:38 p.m. EST on March 1. (Credit: ULA)

ULA and heritage vehicles have launched every GOES spacecraft

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla., March 1, 2022 (ULA PR) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the GOES-T spacecraft for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA lifted off on March 1 at 4:38 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. To date ULA has launched 149 times with 100 percent mission success.

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NOAA Releases Cost-Benefit Analysis of Commercial Data Purchase

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — Today NOAA released a report to Congress titled, “Cost-Benefit Analysis of NOAA Commercial Data Program Radio Occultation Data Purchase.” [View report (PDF)]

The congressionally directed report assesses radio occultation (RO) data purchased in Delivery Order 2 (DO-2) under NOAA’s first indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contracts for operational commercial satellite weather data.

The initial cost-benefit assessment showed that the DO-2 data were similar in quality to data from some other RO sensors provided by government partners to NOAA. The impact on weather forecasts was neutral to slightly positive overall.

NOAA compared the anticipated cost per occultation from government-sponsored missions and commercially sourced data procured to date and found that commercially sourced data was about one-quarter to one-half the cost.

Taking into consideration the differences in cost, precision, and sharing restrictions from the commercial RO data versus data from recent government-sponsored missions, NOAA believes there is value in continuing procurement of commercial data.

Learn more about the NOAA Commercial Data Program and DO-2

Tomorrow.io to Power Amazon Alexa’s Leading Third Party Weather App, Big Sky

Big Sky transitions to Tomorrow.io for hyperlocal weather and air quality insights.

BOSTON, Feb. 14, 2022 (Tomorrow.io PR) — The Tomorrow Companies Inc. (“Tomorrow.io”), developer of a leading platform for global weather and climate security, today announced that Big Sky, the leading third-party weather app on Amazon’s Alexa Echo will now be powered by Tomorrow.io. Described as one of the 7 essential Alexa Skills, Big Sky brands itself as “better weather for Alexa” and has more than 100,000 monthly active users, more than 8,000 reviews and an average user rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.

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Former NASA Astronauts Kathryn Sullivan and Steve Smith Join Tomorrow.io’s Advisory Board

BOSTON (Tomorrow.io PR) — The Tomorrow Companies Inc. (“Tomorrow.io”), developer of a leading platform for global weather and climate security, today announced the addition of former NASA astronauts Dr. Kathryn Sullivan and Steve Smith to the company’s advisory board. 

Dr. Sullivan was the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). She was appointed by President Biden to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Mr. Smith was Deputy Chief of the NASA Astronaut Corps, served as a U.S. Diplomat overseas for 12 years, and is now a Director of the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory.

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5 Things to Know About a Pair of Small But Mighty Weather Instruments

The COWVR and TEMPEST instruments are in the truck of a SpaceX Drago cargo spacecraft launched to the International Space Station on Dec. 21, 2021. (Credit: SpaceX)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Launched Tuesday to the space station, the COWVR and TEMPEST two instruments could lead the way to big improvements in gathering key information for weather forecasting.

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NASA To Launch 4 Earth Science Missions in 2022

An illustration of the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS). JPSS is a collaborative program between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA. JPSS-2 is NOAA’s next-generation operational Earth observation program that acquires and distributes global environmental data primarily from multiple polar-orbiting satellites. (Credits: Orbital ATK/Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems)

By Alison Gold
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA will launch four Earth science missions in 2022 to provide scientists with more information about fundamental climate systems and processes including extreme storms, surface water and oceans, and atmospheric dust. Scientists will discuss the upcoming missions at the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) 2021 Fall Meeting, hosted in New Orleans between Dec. 13 and 17.

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House Passes Infrastructure Spending Bill With Extra $1 Billion for NASA

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 5376, the Build Back Better Act last week that includes billions of dollars in funds for NASA, NOAA and other scientific and technology agencies.

In addition to funding improvements to physical infrastructure, the measure puts a major emphasis on addressing climate change, a problem that the Biden Administration takes seriously. The previous president described as a Chinese plot to destroy American industry.

The bill now goes to the Senate where its fate is uncertain.

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NOAA GeoXO Program Formally Initiated

Credit: NOAA

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — NOAA’s next-generation geostationary satellite program, Geostationary Extended Observations (GeoXO), was formally initiated on November 9, 2021. GeoXO will now enter the program definition phase of development.

During the program definition phase, the GeoXO team will refine mission requirements, detail acquisition strategies, schedules, cost estimates, resource planning, and risk management, and confirm technology readiness.

GeoXO, as proposed, is a ground-breaking mission that will advance whole Earth System observations from geostationary orbit. GeoXO will supply vital information to address major environmental challenges of the future in support of U.S. weather, ocean, and climate operations. As NOAA’s next generation of geostationary satellites, the GeoXO mission will continue and expand observations provided by the GOES-R Series.

NOAA is working to ensure these critical observations are in place by the early 2030s as the GOES-R Series nears the end of its operational lifetime.