Private Firm Could Fill Weather Satellite Gap

Source: Doyle Rice, Weather Underground, March 26, 2013

Within the next few years, some of the USA’s aging weather satellites are predicted to deteriorate or fail, which could leave a gap in the data that forecasters use to predict weather. But now, a private company — Bethesda, Md.-based PlanetIQ — is proposing to bridge that gap: PlanetIQ’s solution includes launching a constellation of 12 small satellites in low-Earth orbit to collect weather data, which PlanetIQ says the federal government could access at less cost and risk than current government-funded efforts….

…Miglarese added that within 28 to 34 months from the beginning of their manufacture, all 12 satellites could be in orbit. As for the cost, she says, “We estimate that for all U.S. civilian and defense needs globally for both terrestrial and space weather applications, the cost to government agencies in the U.S. will be less than $70 million per year.” As the satellites collect data, PlanetIQ would sell the data to government weather services around the world as well as the U.S. Air Force. The most recently launched polar-orbiting satellite, sent into space by the U.S. in 2011, cost $1.5 billion…..