A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket successfully lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center early this morning, bringing a variety of satellites to space, including the six COSMIC-2 weather satellites.
“The COSMIC satellites launched today will play a critical role for forecasters and scientists,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “With advanced modeling technology and new satellites in orbit to call upon, NOAA is better prepared than ever to predict and respond to threatening weather phenomenon.”
“The critical atmospheric data from COSMIC-2, along with information from polar-orbiting satellites NOAA and its international partners operate, will go a long way toward improving the accuracy of our forecasts and reduce the harmful impacts on lives, property, and economies,” said Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator.
The $75million price tag for the COSMIC-2 program includes development costs since 2014 and estimates costs through 2024, assuming 5 years of operation. After this morning’s launch, it’ll take the satellites 18 months to separate into different orbit plains, with each of the 6 satellites in 6 different orbit plains around Earth.