PlanetIQ has a breakthrough in the manner they measure impending weather conditions. Expensive and over budget to replace aging satellites, the start-up situated in Bethesda, MD. makes use of physics to detect weather patterns.

Intending to launch 12 small satellites into orbit, PlanetIQ’s objective is to use them to watch the GPS satellites rise and fall.

An artist's interpretation of PlanetIQ's satellites in orbit.
An artist’s interpretation of PlanetIQ’s satellites in orbit.

How does it work? The signals sent by the GPS satellites are bent when passing through the atmosphere resulting in longer than expected travel times. And depending on the composition of the temperature, pressure and water vapor in the atmosphere, the delay of the signal varies.

With the new satellite observation, meteorologists would be able to acquire more detailed data instead of having to launch weather balloons. The data gathered is not exhaustive on its own, however combined with other atmospheric measurements, forecasts can be more precise.

Although they are looking forward towards launching weather satellites, the cost of about $160 million is a staggering sum which the government’s tight budget cannot fund at the moment.

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