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OMS launches next-gen weather observation satellites
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1st April 2021

OMS launches next-gen weather observation satellites

On 30 March Orbital Micro Systems (OMS), a leader in advanced instrumentation for earth observation, unveiled the capabilities of its next-generation Global Environmental Monitoring System (GEMS2) satellites. GEMS2 systems will feature a state-of-the-art microwave radiometer that provides temperature, humidity, and precipitation observations at multiple altitudes from the surface to the mid-stratosphere. The unique data captured from GEMS2 will specifically benefit insurance, agriculture, and aviation markets through more frequent and precise observations into weather structures and systems.

"GEMS2 builds on the success and lessons learned from the GEMS1 satellite which was launched in 2019 and has provided the highest spatial resolution tropospheric temperature sounding data ever gathered by a satellite mission," said Michael Hurowitz, chief executive officer of OMS. "GEMS has become a key component of the future weather infrastructure plans for both commercial and government customers around the world. The experiences and knowledge we gained from GEMS1 has helped us create a new generation of instrumentation that will set the standard for collecting high-value Earth observation data for years to come."

Being readied for launch in the second half of 2021, the GEMS2 satellite radiometers are designed to gather Earth observation data across 24 sounding and imaging channels, providing vertically distributed precipitation and temperature datapoints in a 2000-kilometer-wide swath as each satellite orbits the Earth. The addition of a single GEMS2 radiometer to operational status will increase the global availability of microwave observation data by some 10 percent. An all-weather observation technology, GEMS2's passive microwave radiometers operate at frequencies which penetrate clouds and offer internal views of storm systems that are similar to 3-D weather radar over land or sea.

In addition, data collected by GEMS2 in 118 GHz and 183 GHz bands with 16-kilometer spatial resolution and cross-track scanning enables enhanced data reliability and precision. Global temperature, precipitation, and humidity profiles from the surface to 45 kilometers in altitude will be made available within 15 minutes of downlink, enabling near real-time analysis.

GEMS data collected from all satellites is processed and available for access through the International Centre of Earth Observation (ICED), operated by OMS partner Weather Stream. When aligned and georectified with other datasets in the ICED platform, GEMS data will enhance the ability of governments and commercial users to improve forecast and nowcast services, as well as improve preparation for critical weather events.

"GEMS2 represents a robust constellation of cost-effective, commercially viable Earth observation platforms that will improve weather planning and response management," added Hurowitz. "Our plan is to regularly add satellites to the fleet and increase the timely availability of critical data across the globe."

Orbital Micro Systems 


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