Technology

PlanetiQ was formed to build, launch and operate the first commercial constellation of GPS-RO weather satellites, with 20 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites to be deployed by the end of 2020.

Consistent with our mission to bring innovation to satellite weather observations, PlanetiQ’s satellites will carry the fourth-generation “Pyxis” radio occultation (RO) sensor. Pyxis builds on the heritage of the gold standard for RO sensors. The PlanetiQ team has developed and built the previous three generations of RO sensors proven on orbit, including 20 flight units for prior, current and upcoming satellite missions.

This state-of-the-art, next-generation RO sensor is smaller, lighter, and consumes less power than prior versions, but has nearly 3x the data collection capability since it will receive signals from all four major GNSS constellations (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and Beidou). Pyxis is the only GPS-RO sensor in such a small package that is powerful enough to provide more than 10 times the amount of data available from GPS-RO sensors currently on orbit, and to routinely probe down into the lowest layers of the atmosphere where severe weather occurs.

With 20 satellites on orbit, PlanetiQ will collect over 50,000 soundings per day or about 400 million data observations, enabling unprecedented improvements in weather forecasting, space weather prediction and climate analytics.

Our data will have an average latency of less than 3 minutes, using an existing satellite-based relay system in Geostationary Earth Orbit.  This low latency is a dramatic improvement over traditional delivery times and critical to evolving weather and space weather forecasting requirements.

Future instruments planned for PlanetiQ satellites 13-18 include the Active Temperature, Ozone and Moisture Microwave Spectrometer (ATOMMS) and a next-generation microwave radiometer.

ATOMMS, currently funded by the National Science Foundation, will use centimeter and millimeter wavelengths to simultaneously profile temperature, pressure, and water vapor versus altitude. ATOMMS will measure water vapor far more accurately than current sensors, yielding 1% or better accuracy from the lower troposphere into the mesosphere.

Related: GPS-RO 101