The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are all set to launch six weather satellites for better weather monitoring and predictions in space and on Earth. The satellites are a joint project of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Taiwan National Space Agency that will provide more frequent high-resolution data about temperature, pressure, and water vapor, improving tropical-storm forecasts.

Due to the success of COSMIC-1, U.S. agencies and Taiwan have decided to move forward with another RO mission called FORMOSAT-7/COSMIC-2 that will launch six satellites into low-inclination orbits in 2019. The six satellites will use a new technique known as radio occultation to measure the bending of signals from the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) as those signals pass through Earth’s atmosphere.

This latest generation of COSMIC satellites will continue to build on the successes of the program. The COSMIC satellites keep scientists and forecasters informed of minute changes in the atmosphere and space, with this latest batch of satellites ensuring that this critical data is collected from the poles to the tropics – Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce

The project, called COSMIC-2 in the US and FORMOSAT-7 in Taiwan, will also provide an unprecedented level of detail about the planet’s ionosphere. This upper level of the atmosphere is a swirl of electrons and ions, blasted by the sun and adjacent to the Earth’s magnetosphere. The COSMIC-2 mission will enable a revolutionary increase in the number and quality of atmospheric and ionospheric observations, which will significantly benefit the research and operational communities.

Previous satellite and ground-based systems provided infrequent, low-resolution data about the ionosphere. COSMIC-2 will continuously monitor the electron density of the ionosphere from 40° north of the equator to 40° south; tracking how charges move and potentially enabling predictions of space weather.