Blue Canyon Technologies have won its largest constellation order to date, a contract with Tomorrow.io which is a weather technology company.
Based on a contract announced on Aug. 9th, Blue Canyon, a Raytheon subsidiary, will provide products and services for 18 Tomorrow.io cubesats with microwave sounders. In addition to providing cubesat buses and payloads elements, Blue Canyon will support payload integration, conduct space vehicle testing and handle pre-launch mission operations services.
“Our cubesat and components teams are looking forward to building at a larger scale, in a new facility, with improved payload interfaces and standardized designs,” John Carvo, Blue Canyon executive director of cubesats, said in a statement. “Raytheon Technologies’ continued investment has allowed us to increase inventory and acquire new testing equipment and facilities, so we can continue providing innovative products and the agility to move quickly to ensure rapid delivery to our customers.”
Tomorrow.io plans to begin gathering radar and microwave observations to feed weather models by the end of 2024. Tomorrow.io has not yet disclosed the manufacturer for its 200-kilogram radar satellites.
“We chose Blue Canyon Technologies due to their proven experience in delivering a complex small-sat sounder to orbit with the TROPICS mission, and their ability to scale and help us meet market demand,” Rei Goffer, Tomorrow.io co-founder and chief strategy officer, told SpaceNews by email. “Together with our radar satellites and our weather intelligence platform, it will allow us to continue revolutionizing global weather forecasting.”
Blue Canyon has been expanding rapidly in recent years. Earlier this week, the Colorado-based small satellite manufacturer and mission services provider held a grand opening for its new cubesat factory in Boulder, Colorado. The 2,880-square-meter facility allows Blue Canyon to increase annual production from 50 to 85 cubesats, the company said in an Aug. 4 news release.
The Tomorrow.io microwave sounder payload leverages the heritage of NASA’s TROPICS program by using MIT Lincoln Laboratory’s next generation Microwave Sounder Instrument which collects temperature, water vapor, precipitation, and cloud ice measurements to study storms and other meteorological events. This constellation of passive microwave sounders will complement Tomorrow.io’s constellation of weather radar satellites. The combination of radar and microwave sounding data leans on the long heritage of NASA’s Global Precipitation Mission and is expected to significantly improve real-time situational awareness, short-term nowcasts, medium-term forecasts, and climate studies.
The CubeSats will be designed, built, and tested in the company’s new CubeSat Factory, which opened in Boulder, Colorado, on Aug. 3, 2022. Once in production, BCT will deliver two space vehicles per month.