The collection of Earth observation data has traditionally been the preserve of national and multi-national government organizations. These organizations face dramatically increased demand for public services while suffering from expanding procurement costs and extended delays. Our leaders have spent decades working to improve the way that governments create Earth science data and put that experience into designing the GeoOptics system.
We are actively deploying a series of remote sensing capabilities on our CICERO (Community Initiative for Cellular Earth Remote Observation) constellation of Earth observing nanosatellites. We are offering the most advanced and prolific Earth science data available to private companies as well as to governments, providing dependable, compelling and continuously improving information to people around the world.
We have first implemented a technology known as global navigation satellite system radio occultation (GNSS-RO). The GNSS-RO technique leverages one of the greatest public investments of our time: the GNSS satellite constellations, as led by the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS). Other GNSS systems include Galileo (EU), GLONASS (Russia), and BeiDou (China).
Our founder Tom Yunck originally proposed the GNSS-RO technique in 1988 and oversaw the development and improvement of the world’s leading capability at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Over the last two decades a series of government-funded satellites have refined the technology and proven out its tremendous capability. GNSS-RO satellites now provide some of the most accurate weather and climate data available, offering significantly more impact per measurement than traditional weather instruments.
The many satellites in these constellations transmit incredibly accurate signals at all times which are commonly used for navigation as well as to locate people on the surface of Earth. Our satellites instead observe the GNSS signals as they traverse the atmosphere, refracting much like light does as it passes through a lens. By measuring the bending of the GNSS signals, it is possible to extract detailed information on the density and temperature of the atmosphere through which they pass.
The technique requires extremely precise measurements of the GNSS signals, and that precision traditionally required large satellites. However, over the last few years, we have worked with our partners at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Tyvak to commercialize and miniaturize this technology, using many of the technologies now found in smartphones. By launching smaller, less expensive satellites, we will have the ability to make orders of magnitude more data available to weather forecasters and scientists around the world.
With our first CICERO satellites on-orbit, we are now providing the first and only high-quality commercial radio occultation data from space.
We are also developing new technologies to enable the next great leap in Earth observation from space. Working in partnership NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, we are expanding the capabilities of our nanosatellites to enable them to detect minute changes in the Earth’s gravitational field. These satellites will monitor the flow of water around the world in oceans, lakes and rivers, snow and ice packs and even under the Earth’s surface.
Through this project, we’re excited to be working with NASA to pioneer the future of Earth exploration and will provide more updates as our work progresses.