Satellite environmental data pioneer GeoOptics has been awarded a data purchase contract from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under its Commercial Weather Data Pilot program. This is the first time NOAA has contracted to purchase satellite weather data from a commercial provider.

“We are thrilled to partner with NOAA on this exciting new chapter in weather prediction,” said GeoOptics CEO Conrad Lautenbacher. “We look forward to demonstrating that commercial satellite data purchases can enable the unmatched efficiencies of the private sector to help NOAA accomplish its vital mission to protect and inform the public.”

GeoOptics is launching a constellation of nanosatellites designed to create the most detailed picture of the Earth’s atmosphere, surface and subsurface ever assembled. The first satellites are deploying advanced Global Positioning System Radio Occultation (GPS-RO) sensors developed in partnership with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Tyvak Nanosatellite Systems. Future satellites will expand upon and refine this technology and deploy several other technologies to provide a precise and complete picture of the Earth’s environment.

NOAA’s Commercial Weather Data Pilot was established earlier this year to “assess the potential viability of commercial weather data in [NOAA’s] weather modeling and forecasting.” The program is funded “to purchase, evaluate, and calibrate available data, which meets the standards and specifications set by NOAA in its Commercial Data Policy.”

“NOAA has carefully and efficiently implemented this program on a short timeline,” said Alex Saltman, COO of GeoOptics. “We deeply appreciate the key role that leaders in Congress and NOAA have played in authorizing and encouraging NOAA’s interest in commercial satellite weather data.”

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