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Proceedings Paper

Iridium NEXT partnership for Earth observation: exploiting global satellite constellations for new remote sensing capabilities
Author(s): Om P Gupta
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Paper Abstract

A unique opportunity exists to host up to 66 earth observation sensors on the Iridium NEXT LEO constellation in a manner that can revolutionize earth observation and weather predictions. A constellation approach to sensing, using the real-time communications backbone of Iridium, will enable unprecedented geospatial and temporal sampling for now-casting of weather on a global basis as well as global climate monitoring. The Iridium NEXT constellation, with 66 interconnected satellites in 6 near polar orbiting planes, provides a unique platform for hosting a variety of earth observation missions. The opportunity is proposed as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) allowing for the sharing of infrastructure by government agencies. This has the potential to augment current and planned climate and weather observation programs in a very cost effective manner not achievable in any other way. Iridium, with the assistance of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), NASA, NOAA, and ESA, has evaluated a number of sensing missions that would be a good fit to the Iridium NEXT constellation. These include GPS radio occultation sensors, earth radiation budget measurements, radio altimetry, tropospheric and stratospheric winds measurements including polar winds measurements, and atmospheric chemistry. Iridium NEXT launches start in 2013 and constellation operational life will extend beyond 2030. Detailed feasibility studies on specific missions are planned to begin later this year.

Paper Details

Date Published: 25 August 2008
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 7087, Remote Sensing System Engineering, 70870N (25 August 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.800768
Show Author Affiliations
Om P Gupta, Iridium Satellite LLC (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7087:
Remote Sensing System Engineering
Philip E. Ardanuy; Jeffery J. Puschell, Editor(s)

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