On June 26, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released the summary of the results of Commercial Weather Data Pilot (CWDP) Round 2. View the summary here.
In Round 2, NOAA evaluated GNSS radio occultation data from two U.S. commercial space companies: GeoOptics and Spire. NOAA concludes that, based on the results of CWDP Round 2, the commercial sector is able to provide radio occultation data that can support NOAA’s operational products and services.
“As a result, NOAA is proceeding with plans to acquire commercial RO data for operational use,” the summary states.
According to GeoOptics, the report highlights the unique qualities of its commercial GNSS-RO data and its ability to improve weather and space weather forecasts around the world.
“As today’s report demonstrates, commercial satellite data will enable NOAA to make significant improvements in forecasting worldwide within the consistent budget limitations under which it operates,” said GeoOptics CEO Conrad Lautenbacher.
NOAA anticipates release of a request for proposals soon for operational purchase of commercial radio occultation data, continuing an acquisition process that began in April with NOAA’s release of a draft Statement of Work.
NOAA has requested $15 million in FY 2021 to support Commercial Data Purchase. The FY 2021 Budget also requests $8 million for CWDP to investigate new commercial technologies beyond radio occultation.
By moving into this next phase of engagement with U.S. industry, NOAA is leveraging commercial space sector capabilities to support its operational products and services and to continue to improve its weather forecasting capabilities. NOAA plans to implement additional rounds of the CWDP to evaluate commercial capabilities beyond radio occultation data for potential operational use.