MyRadar launched three PocketQubes, manufactured by Alba Orbital, in 2022 on a Rocket Lab Electron. Credit: MyRadar

SAN FRANCISCO – Acme AtronOmatic, vendor of the MyRadar weather app, won FCC approval to launch satellites to demonstrate technology for a constellation that ultimately could include 250 satellites or more.

The satellites, scheduled to launch in April on a Rocket Lab Electron from New Zealand, are designed to test and validate hardware for Orlando, Florida-based Acme’s Hyperspectral Orbital Remote Imaging Spectrometer (HORIS) constellation.

Environmental data captured by the HORIS constellation will be paired with artificial intelligence and machine learning to create data-fusion products for the company’s government and commercial customers. Acme also intends to draw on data and imagery from the HORIS  constellation to enhance its MyRadar weather app.

The first batch of Acme satellites set to launch in April are PocketQubes, satellites measuring 5 centimeters on each side. The “batch consists of our own satellite and two others that we have informally helped design and build,” Acme CEO Andy Green told SpaceNews by email. “We’re mostly focusing on the primary satellite, MyRadar1,” which is a HORIS constellation prototype.

Acme also intends to design and build one-unit cubesats equipped with hyperspectral, thermal and visible cameras for the HORIS constellation.

The FCC granted Acme’s license through its streamlined procedures for commercial small satellite launches. “The new FCC streamlined process has definitely helped us accelerate our plans,” Green said in a statement.

Acme’s free MyRadar app has been downloaded more than 50 million times and has more than 13 million active monthly users, according to Acme’s news release.

With processed data from the HORIS constellation, Acme intends to create products to monitor extreme weather, coral reefs, algae blooms, illegal fishing, national security and wildfires, according to the company’s FCC license application submitted in August.

Kongsberg Satellite Services is providing ground station services for the satellites Acme is preparing to send to sun synchronous orbit.

Scottish PocketQube manufacturer Alba Orbital arranged for the Acme PocketQubes to fly on the Electron in a PocketQube cluster that includes Alba Orbital’s Unicorn-2 PocketQube, Acme’s MyRadar1, and TRSI-2 and TRSI-3. Acme launch the first TRSI satellite on an Electron in 2019.

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...