US weather forecasting satellite company PlanetiQ has signed a deal to launch two satellites on India’s polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) in 2016. The deal was signed with Antrix Corp, the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro).
PlanetiQ is the second US weather monitoring satellites company to sign a deal with Isro after the US relaxed a crucial rule to allow satellites with American components to be launched on Indian rockets. In September, Spire Global, a US start-up, building a global network of weather monitoring satellites over oceans, sent four shoe-box satellites on PSLV, as a co-passenger with Astrosat.
The ISRO’s PSLV is among the world's most reliable launch vehicles with 30 consecutive successful flights. The PSLV has launched 51 satellites for international customers from 20 countries, in addition to 33 Indian national satellites, said a statement by PlanetiQ.
“The stellar track record of the PSLV combined with our seven-year satellite design life provides the reliability and data continuity not just desired, but required by the operational weather forecast community,” said Chris McCormick, Chairman and CEO of PlanetiQ. “Within days after launch, we will validate and start delivering high-quality data and services to our customers.”
“The world today lacks sufficient data to feed into weather models, especially the detailed vertical data that is critical to storm prediction. That’s why we see inaccurate or ambiguous forecasts for storms like Hurricane Joaquin, which can put numerous lives at risk and cost businesses millions of dollars due to inadequate preparation or risk management measures,” McCormick said. “Capturing the detailed vertical structure of the atmosphere from pole to pole, especially over the currently under-sampled oceans, is the missing link to improving forecasts of high-impact weather.”
On July 22, Jitender Singh, the Union Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Space said in the Lok Sabha that Isro’s workhorse rocket, PSLV has so far launched 45 satellites of 19 countries earning around Rs 700 crore for the space agency. Isro has 28 satellites in order from foreign countries, including nine from the US, six from Singapore and four each from Germany and Canada.