We've mentioned over the last few years several times the funding problems
that mean the U.S. government's weather satellite stable is thinner than we might prefer
. A story at the Weather Underground outlines the plan of a company called PlanetIQ to fill the needs met with the current constellation of weather sats with private ones instead
. From the article, describing testimony last week before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce:
"PlanetIQ's solution includes launching a constellation of 12 small satellites in low-Earth orbit to collect weather data, which PlanetIQ says the federal government could access at less cost and risk than current government-funded efforts. ... [PlanetIQ Anne Hale] Miglarese added that within 28 to 34 months from the beginning of their manufacture, all 12 satellites could be in orbit. As for the cost, she says, "We estimate that for all U.S. civilian and defense needs globally for both terrestrial and space weather applications, the cost to government agencies in the U.S. will be less than $70 million per year. As the satellites collect data, PlanetIQ would sell the data to government weather services around the world as well as the U.S. Air Force. The most recently launched polar-orbiting satellite, sent into space by the U.S. in 2011, cost $1.5 billion."