25.2 C
Friday, June 2, 2023


A loaf-sized mission to improve storm forecasting ready to be launched

Related stories

Ex-British soldier in Ukraine dies in car crash

A former British soldier who was assisting border dwellers...

Putin to unveil cyber championship in Russia

Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, has bizarrely authorised...

Putin’s rocket almost hits car in Kyiv

This is the shocking incident when a piece of...

Socialite fined £30,000 for killing police friend

Socialite Jasmine Hartin received a £30,000 fine yesterday night...

2 kids killed in latest Russian bombardment of Kyiv

In the most recent attack by Russia on the...

2 teens die after incident at beach

A 12-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy have died...

Australian soldier loses war crimes defamation case

Ben Roberts-Smith, Australia's most-decorated living soldier, has faced a...

Trump’s possible Republican contenders for US 2024 presidential election

The competition for the 2024 Republican White House nomination...

Tourists warned of venomous jellyfish in Ibiza

Ibiza is renowned for its all-night celebrations, scorching temperatures,...

Ex-Russian president threatens UK officials as ‘legitimate military targets’

A previous Russian president claimed that since the foreign...
- Advertisement -

Just in time for the start of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season on June 1, a new mission intended to enhance storm forecasting is prepared for launch.

TROPICS, or Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats, is a constellation of CubeSats that is a part of the NASA mission.

- Advertisement -

During a two-hour window that begins at 9 p.m. ET on Sunday, the first two CubeSats are anticipated to launch from Mhia, New Zealand, aboard a Rocket Lab Electron rocket.

The launch of this first mission, nicknamed “Rocket Like a Hurricane,” will stream live on NASA’s website and Rocket Lab’s website.

- Advertisement -

Two additional CubeSats, nicknamed “Coming to a Storm Near You,” will launch from the same location later this month.

Together, the four satellites, each weighing 12 pounds and about the size of a loaf of bread, will observe tropical cyclones from low-Earth orbit.

- Advertisement -

Once all of them are in orbit, the tiny satellites will form a constellation that makes more frequent observations than current weather-monitoring satellites.

“The need for improved climate and weather data from space is acute and growing. Hurricanes and tropical storms have a devastating effect on lives and livelihoods, so we’re immensely proud to be entrusted by NASA to launch the TROPICS missions which will enable scientists and researchers to accurately predict storm strength and give people time to evacuate and make plans,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck in a statement. “With the 2023 hurricane season fast approaching, time is of the essence for these missions.”

Each CubeSat will orbit at about 340 miles (550 kilometers) above Earth’s surface and capture hourly observations of the precipitation, temperature and humidity of tropical storms. Current satellites take similar data, but only about every six hours, which makes it more difficult to measure the intensity of storms.

More frequent data can help scientists understand the rapid changes that can occur within a storm, impacting its structure and stability, and help meteorologists improve their prediction and forecasting models.

During the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, there were so many tropical storms and hurricanes that meteorologists ran out of names on the predefined list and had to switch to the Greek alphabet — and then the same thing happened again in 2021, said Ben Kim, program executive at NASA’s Earth Science Division.

In 2022, three hurricanes hit the US, but Hurricane Ian alone caused more than $100 billion in damages and caused more than 100 fatalities, Kim said.

“TROPICS aims to improve our scientific understanding by obtaining microwave observations that allow us to see the inner structure of the storm approximately hourly,” Kim said. “These observations will complement existing weather satellites and ultimately then can be tied to the broader understanding of the entire Earth system.”

Data collected by TROPICS will be shared with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, the National Hurricane Center and other partners. The satellites will measure water vapor primarily located in the troposphere, or the lowest layer of Earth’s atmosphere, where most weather phenomena occurs.

“The exciting thing about this is its the ability to see inside the storms, but it’s also the ability to see how the storms are changing over short periods of time,” said Dr. Will McCarty, program scientist at NASA’s Earth Science Division.


- Never miss a story with notifications

- Gain full access to our premium content

- Browse free from up to 5 devices at once

Latest stories