[Via Satellite 12-03-2015] PlanetiQ, a startup with plans to field a constellation of 12 small weather satellites, has signed a contract with Antrix Corporation Limited, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), for the launch of the company’s first two spacecraft. The mission, slated for the fourth quarter of 2016, will use a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) to orbit the microsatellites, which have a seven-year lifespan.
PlanetiQ’s satellites have a mass of 10 kilograms, and feature the company’s Pyxis-RO sensor for GPS Radio Occultation (GPS-RO). Once the initial constellation is complete, currently planned for 2017, PlanetiQ will collect approximately 34,000 occultations per day, evenly distributed around the globe with high-density sampling over both land and water.
PlanetiQ’s Pyxis-RO sensor tracks signals from all four major satellite navigation systems: GPS, Galileo, BeiDou and Glonass. According to the company, the constellation will quadruple the data collection capability of radio occultation sensors on orbit today.
“The world today lacks sufficient data to feed into weather models, especially the detailed vertical data that is critical to storm prediction. That’s why we see inaccurate or ambiguous forecasts for storms like Hurricane Joaquin, which can put numerous lives at risk and cost businesses millions of dollars due to inadequate preparation or risk management measures,” said Chris McCormick, chairman and CEO of PlanetiQ. “Capturing the detailed vertical structure of the atmosphere from pole to pole, especially over the currently under-sampled oceans, is the missing link to improving forecasts of high-impact weather.”
ISRO’s PSLV has completed 30 consecutive successful flights, and has launched 51 satellites for international customers from 20 countries, in addition to 33 Indian national satellites.
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