Orbital Micro Systems (OMS) has entered into a formal agreement with Thomas Keating Ltd., a UK-based THz technology firm, to advance the development of millimeter-wave instruments for deployment in OMS’ Global Environmental Monitoring System (GEMS) constellation of cubesats. As a part of the agreement, the companies will jointly fund related design, development, and test activities, leveraging the satellite technologies expertise of each firm.
Thomas Keating has a strong success record in the last 30 years in manufacturing and testing of quasi-optical antennas for science and weather forecasting missions. Based in Billinghurst, England, the company works with customers across the space, aviation and materials management industries.
OMS launched the first commercial microwave radiometer weather mission into orbit in 2019 and is leveraging its experience to expand the capabilities and precision of its current generation of instruments and satellites. As a result of its collaboration with Thomas Keating, OMS expects to provide unique, highly localized Earth Observation (EO) data that will enhance real-time weather forecasting. As commercially focused space markets continue to emerge, the companies are committed to dramatically increasing the accessibility and availability of timely all-weather earth observation data for commercial and government use.
Being readied for launch in early 2022, the next GEMS2 satellites carry state-of-the-art microwave radiometers designed and manufactured by OMS with support from the U.S. Air Force, Space Force, Navy, Lockheed Martin, and the UK Space Agency to gather temperature, humidity, and precipitation data across 24 sounding and imaging channels at 118 and 183 GHz. These uniquely capable instruments measure vertical temperature, humidity, and precipitation profiles 24/7 in nearly all weather conditions regardless of day or night. The sensor produces a cross-track scanned 2000-kilometer-wide swath as each satellite orbits the Earth.
“OMS worked with Thomas Keating to develop a hardware solution for our first GEMS payload and the collaboration just grew from there. We are really excited to formalize and strengthen ties with this market leader as we move forward with the GEMS commercial weather and climate monitoring constellation,” said Michael Hurowitz, chief executive officer of OMS. “We anticipate that this partnership will help streamline the design-to-launch process and bring us closer to our goal of gathering and disseminating weather and climate observations for any point on the globe in fifteen-minute intervals.”
“Our two organizations are well-matched to help shape the growing space-enabled weather forecasting marketplace,” said Dr. Richard Wylde, managing director of Thomas Keating. “The move toward lower-cost satellite platforms utilizing precision instrumentation that can cost-effectively increase observation-revisits and data integrity will fuel a data-starved market.”