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North Logan — GeoMetWatch Corp today announced it has entered into a Space Act Agreement with NASA to provide four years of Earth observation and weather data from GeoMetWatch’s first Sounding and Tracking Observatory for Regional Meteorology (STORM) mission on board an Asia Satellite Telecommunications spacecraft. Planned for launch in 2016, the AsiaSat 9 satellite will host the first of six planned hyperspectral STORM sensors, which will benefit NASA climate research by providing the national space agency with sophisticated and critical weather data not currently available.
The weather and atmospheric data produced by STORM will enable meteorologists to provide higher quality daily forecasts, predict severe weather and atmospheric instability more accurately, and improve location and storm tracking and analysis of the intensity of hurricanes and typhoons. Similar to a CAT scan, the hyperspectral sounder will effectively analyze the Earth’s atmosphere by dividing it into 1,800 layers and scanning in 4D (length, width, depth, time), a vast improvement over current satellite technology.
The six STORM sensors will become part of a new global satellite constellation by GeoMetWatch and will be modeled after the Geosynchronous Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer (GIFTS) hyperspectral sounder, which is on loan for this purpose from NASA. To be situated approximately 22,000 miles above Earth in geostationary orbit, the STORM instruments will be manufactured by Utah State University’s Advanced Weather Systems laboratory.
“The core technology present in GIFTS provides the key manufacturing aid to enable us to build a production version for STORM,” said Scott Jensen, director of USU’s Advanced Weather Systems laboratory. “As the only series of weather sensors operating in geostationary orbit, STORM will provide first-of-its-kind, advanced hyperspectral data that substantially improves climate modeling, weather forecasting and natural disaster monitoring.”
STORM will resurrect GIFTS’s original mission to continuously observe Earth’s surface and atmosphere from geostationary orbit and obtain a more accurate and comprehensive picture of weather patterns in the atmosphere. The AsiaSat 9 hyperspectral sounder will be in a positioned orbit at 122 degrees East over the Asia-Pacific region. Most current observation instruments only occupy low Earth orbit, approximately 520 miles above Earth, and are incapable of solely providing continuous coverage over a large area.
“We are thrilled to leverage the major investment made in GIFTS and help the STORM program become fully realized,” said David Crain, CEO of GeoMetWatch. “The weather data provided by this program has the potential to advance the preservation of lives and property by increasing warning time and enabling earlier evacuations as a result of extreme weather. In delivering this life-saving information at significantly reduced costs, we look forward to improving weather forecast data for government agencies and commercial industries around the globe.”
The products and services from GeoMetWatch are available globally under an innovative fee-for-service data-buy model that enables its clients to meet their critical atmospheric data needs with optimum efficiency and affordability.