Capitalism in space: Acme Atronomatic, a software company that developed the MyRadar weather app that has been downloaded 50 million times, is now planning to launch 250 satellite weather constellation, with the first test satellites scheduled for launch in April.
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.
Private weather satellites like this are the future, rather than government-built satellite, which has been the norm for sixty years. That shift is also apparently being encouraged by Congress, which the House has passed and the Senate is considering. In it NOAA’s budget to build its own weather satellites was trimmed by about 25%, from the requested $1.68 billion to $1.29 billion.
This trim is hardly painful to NOAA’s weather satellite program, which remains well funded. It does indicate however that our spendthrift Congress is interested in ways to save money in this area.