President Donald Trump last week signed a bill authorizing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to acquire weather data from commercial satellite systems, Space News reported Friday.
Jeff Foust writes the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017 allows NOAA to spend up to $6 million a year to conduct a pilot procurement program that will study the effectiveness of commercial data to aid weather forecasts from fiscal 2017 to fiscal 2020.
The law also requires NOAA to complete and begin operations of the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate 2 or COSMIC-2 mission, which will place 12 satellites into equatorial and polar orbits, Foust reported.
Six COSMIC-2 satellites will be launched on a SpaceX-built Falcon Heavy rocket later this year while a second batch of six satellites will be deployed to polar orbit in 2019, according to the report.
Foust added the law directs NOAA to forge an agreement with the National Academies by the end of FY 2018 to research future weather satellite systems.