Global Positioning Systems Launch Successful From U.S.
Global Positioning System (GPS) technology has dramatically changed the way weather is predicted and tracked. It has been a key tool in the control of severe weather and the performance of emergency responders. A Global Positioning System or GPS is a system that is used to determine a geographical location. It works by using a network of satellites that circle the earth once every day, transmitting data to be read by a receiver at the receiver location. This information gives forecasters a clear picture of where a storm or other weather anomalies might be.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NADIS) supports severe weather tracking, and forecasts. The agency’s mission is “to improve our nation’s safety for the people we serve by providing timely and accurate consumer and scientific information concerning the atmosphere, earth, and space.” They also provide support for operational environmental monitoring and reporting requirements for public agencies, farmers, land managers, utility companies, scientific researchers, land surveyors, engineers, meteorologists, and educators. All of this goes towards providing a service that improves weather and climate conditions that can save lives and reduce the risk of severe weather and natural disasters.
Naspers operates 12 geostationary weather satellites which are placed in a fixed orbit above the Earth. The primary function of these satellites is to track the rain, clouds, snow, ice crystals, etc, in order to better predict the precipitation. The latest addition to the system is the improved Baseline Imager which is able to provide the users with precipitation amounts. Through this innovative technology, the precipitation can be seen on a clear day. The improved baseline imager uses a laser to scan the clouds and rain gauges. Once the scan is complete, a picture of the precipitation level is generated and emailed to the base station.
The first application for the new GPS launched last month was the release of the GIS-VAAC – a weather and Earth imaging satellite which is in geostationary orbit above the equator. It will be primarily used for remote sensing of surface topography, precipitation patterns, ice melting, ice floes, snowfall, etc. It is to be deployed from the US Defense Satellite constellation which operates from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It is scheduled to launch around the end of 2021. It will replace the earlier Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites which were switched off.
The second GPS launch which comes on line after the first goes-15 failure was the deployment of the High Integrity Weather Satellite (HIPS) – a geostationary weather satellite which is also in geostationary orbit above the west coast of the United States. This time, the deployment is planned to cover the continental United States. The first operational GPS launched in 1998 was the U.S. Department of Defense’s first GPS global navigation system which was lost during a military exercise. It was supposed to provide Air Force personnel with a better means of navigating from one point to the next. Its demise was due to the inability to detect a new polar orbiting satellite which was supposed to solve this problem.
The third geosynchronous orbit GPS launched last month was supposed to test the new technology to be deployed using Very Low Earth Orbit (VLEO) satellites. These satellites will be used for mapping and surveying of the Earth, the atmosphere and even the moon and beyond. It will be the first GPS application to be put into space and operate free of an Earth. One way to think about it is if we were to put a camera on top of a volcano which is dormant because there is no sunlight to take pictures and then cover it up with a tent to protect it from the elements that will pass by. This is what a GPS system will do. It will be mounted on the top of a volcano and it will provide data to engineers and scientists as they map and survey the top using ground based equipment and from there it will feed data to the space station.