USA, 21 May 2007: GeoOptics has announced the operation of CICERO (Community Initiative for Continuing Earth Radio Occultation) project, which will consist of 100 micro satellites in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) performing Global Positioning System and Galileo atmospheric radio occultation (GNSS-RO). CICERO will deliver critical data on the Earth’s atmosphere and ionosphere in near real time to forecasters and researchers worldwideat an accuracy and vertical resolution 20 to 50 times greater than is possible with the current operational space based systems.
CICERO expands on the GPS-RO sensing technique.
GNSS-RO delivers profiles of atmospheric density, pressure, temperature, moisture, and geopotential heights, along with global ionospheric electron distribution and a host of derived products. Principal applications are global weather forecasting, hurricane and storm track prediction, climate change research, and space weather (geomagnetic storm) monitoring.GNSS-RO offers improvements in forecasting of hurricanes and will allow for the
first time the direct observation of subtle long-term temperature changes above the Earth’s surface.
Demonstration sensors are currently flying on several space missions, including CHAMP, SAC-C, GRACE, COSMIC and soon with TerraSAR-X. In addition to GNSS-RO, several other small remote sensing payloads are under evaluation. CICERO instruments and spacecraft have been under development since early 2006.
GeoOptics has teamed with Broad Reach Engineering to develop the GNSS-RO sensors, the host micro-spacecraft, and other space segment infrastructure. Broad Reach built the occultation instruments (called IGOR) for COSMIC, TACSAT-2 and TerraSAR-X, and for several upcoming missions, including EQUARS, Tandem-X, and KOMPSAT-5. Broad Reach has in development an advanced Galileo-ready GNSS-RO sensor called Pyxis-RO. Pyxis-RO is the CICERO mission’s primary instrument.
CICERO is on track for an initial launch of 10 spacecraft in October of 2010, with follow-on launches soon after to reach a sustained array of 100 spacecraft. The full constellation is expected to deliver nearly 100,000 atmospheric profiles each day.
GeoOptics was founded by working scientists to establish a new model of community based space development for the public good that could change the way the world collects and disseminates Earth observational data. The CICERO Project will inaugurate this model with a potent new technique for weather and climate sensing known as Global Positioning System Radio Occultation, or GPS-RO.