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L3Harris developing weather technology for next-gen satellites

L3Harris developing weather technology for next-gen satellites
Written by Publishing Team

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — For more than 60 years, L3Harris in Fort Wayne has been producing advanced instruments for the weather community. Now, leaders hope to revolutionize how some measurements are taken, to provide even more crucial weather data.

L3Harris already provides advanced baseline imagers to satellites that are in orbit for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration here in the United States and the Japan Meteorological Agency. Both organizations are now asking L3Harris to study the use of sounders in geostationary orbit for the next generation of satellites.

These sounders take a 3-D slice of the atmosphere measuring temperature, pressure, and humidity.
While there are currently sounders in low earth orbit they aren’t providing persistent measurements meaning they aren’t providing constant weather data.

“That persistence is exciting, that you can get constant monitoring through sounding. You’ll have more than 20 times the number of observations of the current sounding mission,” said Rob Mitrevski, VP & GM of Spectral Solutions, Space and Airborne Systems at L3Harris Technologies.

The data from these sounders would not just go into long-term models, but short-term models that could feed severe weather predictions. Giving advanced notice of potential threats from events such as severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.

“Those will be able to save lives because of the accuracy, in the prediction of those sorts of events. You’ll be able to predict thunderstorms hyper-localized thunderstorms in a better way,” Mitrevski explained, “You’ll be able to put more data into the numerical weather prediction which will get you a better forecast both short term and long term. ”

While satellites in the 90s had both sounders and imagers, the current generation, GOES-R, only has advanced baseline imaging. The next-generation GOES XO will have both and L3Harris hopes to be on board with their tech.

“We’ve been pioneers and in monitoring weather from space, we continue to do that. We hope to continue to do that for many decades to come. So we are very excited about being an integral part of that weather community, and that prediction capability,” added Mitrevski.

The development phase of these is over the course of several years, but the hope is that GOES XO will start launching later this decade.

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