Tomorrow R1, R2
Operated by Tomorrow.io, Tomorrow-R1 and -R2 were launched in April 2023 and June 2023 respectively. These commercial pathfinder radar satellites aim to demonstrate Tomorrow.io’s capability to observe and predict the weather.
|Launch date||April 2023|
The Tomorrow-R satellites both carry a Ka-band Software Defined Radar which uses backscatter to profile precipitation in the atmosphere, and scatterometry to measure relevant parameters of the ocean surface.
The Ka-band radar is sending and receiving radio waves with a frequency of 35.75 GHz. It is observing over a 400 km field of view with a horizontal spatial resolution of 5 km and a vertical resolution of 250 m.
Tomorrow-R1 and -R2 are undergoing a Sun-synchronous orbit with an altitude of 550 km.
Space and Hardware Components
Tomorrow-R1 and -R2 both utilise a satellite bus based on the Corvus-XL satellite platform developed by the American company Astro Digital.
Telemetry, Tracking, and Command (TT&C) downlink will be performed at 400.5 MHz (Ultra High Frequency (UHF) band), whilst uplink will be performed at 2025 MHz (S-band). All payload information will be downlinked with 25.5 GHz (K-band).
Tomorrow-R1 and -R2, operated by Tomorrow.io, are the first commercial weather radar satellites. These Pathfinder satellites are demonstrating radar technology and sampling techniques for Tomorrow.io’s planned larger meteorological satellite constellation. Tomorrow-R1 and -R2 were launched on 15 April 2023 and 12 June 2023, respectively.
Tomorrow.io is a Boston-based company started up by ex-airforce pilots who value accurate and reliable weather predictions. Current Tomorrow.io products allow businesses to collect weather data, display weather data, and make judgements based on that data. 85% of the globe’s surface doesn’t have reliable weather data and forecasting, which affects the lives of around 5 billion people.
By 2025, Tomorrow.io plans to have 8-10 radar satellites and 18 sounder satellites joining Tomorrow-R1 and -R2. By 2025, they also expect to be developing the next generations of their radar and sounder weather satellites.
Tomorrow-R1 and -R2 are based on the Corvus-XL satellite platform developed by the American company Astro Digital. Both satellites will have a mass of 85 kg and have an approximate size of 0.5 m x 0.5 m x 1 m.
Tomorrow-R1 and -R2 were both launched onboard SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets from the Vandenberg Air Force base in California, USA, on 15 April 2023 and 12 June 2023 respectively.
Both satellites are undergoing a Sun-synchronous orbit with an altitude of 550 km.
- August 24, 2023: With Tomorrow-R1 and -R2, Tomorrow.io has joined NASA and JAXA as the only entities to detect precipitation intensity from space.
- June 14, 2023: Tomorrow-R2 was successfully launched on 12 June from the Vandenberg Air Force Base onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Additionally, Tomorrow.io has acquired $87 million of series E funding from Activate Capital, RTX Ventures, Seraphim, and Chemonics. These companies are joining existing investors SquarePeg Capital, Canaan, ClearVision, JetBlue Ventures, and Pitango Growth.
- May 25, 2023: Tomorrow.io has developed a ChatGPT plugin for weather forecasting allowing ChatGPT users to predict the weather and make judgments based on that prediction.
- May 14, 2023: Tomorrow-R1 was successfully launched on 15 April from the Vandenberg Air Force Base onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
- September 21, 2021: Tomorrow.io announced that the American-based company, Astro Digital, will build the Tomorrow-R1 and -R2 pathfinder satellites.
- March 30, 2021: The company ClimaCell changed its name to Tomorrow.io with the legal name being ‘The Tomorrow Companies Inc.’. They also announced that it has raised $77 million in Series D funding from Stonecourt Capital and Highline Capital.
- February 25, 2021: ClimaCell announced that it plans to launch its own radar satellites to observe and forecast weather on a global scale.
Ka-band Software Defined Radar
The Ka-band Software Defined Radar sends and receives radio waves with a frequency of 35.75 GHz. It observes over a 400 km field of view with a horizontal spatial resolution of 5 km and a vertical resolution of 250 m. The 1.1 m2 Cassegrain reflector antenna allows for a sensitivity of less than 10 dBZ.
Telemetry, Tracking, and Command (TT&C) downlink will be performed at 400.5 MHz (UHF-band), whilst uplink will be performed at 2025 MHz (S-band). All payload information will be downlinked with 25.5 GHz (K-band).
1) Tomorrow.io. Tomorrow.io’s Historic Satellite Launch Paves Way for Groundbreaking Advancement in Global Weather Forecasting. Tomorrow.io. Published May 14, 2023. Accessed November 1, 2023. https://www.tomorrow.io/blog/tomorrow-ios-historic-satellite-launch-paves-way-for-groundbreaking-advancement-in-global-weather-forecasting/
2) Slagen D. Tomorrow.io Successfully Launches Second Satellite and Closes Series E Funding. Tomorrow.io. Published June 14, 2023. Accessed November 1, 2023. https://www.tomorrow.io/tomorrow-io-successfully-launches-second-satellite-and-closes-series-e-funding/
3) Slagen D. Tomorrow.io Announces Successful Precipitation Scans from Its Space Radars. Tomorrow.io. Published August 24, 2023. Accessed November 1, 2023. https://www.tomorrow.io/tomorrow-io-announces-successful-precipitation-scans-from-its-space-radars/
4) Favela R. Tomorrow.io ChatGPT Plugin for Weather Forecasting: A Revolutionary Milestone in AI-Powered Weather Intelligence. Tomorrow.io. Published May 25, 2023. Accessed November 1, 2023. https://www.tomorrow.io/tomorrow-io-chatgpt-plugin-for-weather-forecasting-a-revolutionary-milestone-in-ai-powered-weather-intelligence/
5) Rainbow J. Tomorrow.io orders demo satellites for rain-tracking constellation. SpaceNews. Published September 21, 2021. Accessed November 1, 2023. https://spacenews.com/tomorrow-io-orders-demo-satellites-for-rain-tracking-constellation/
6) Rainbow J. Connecting the Dots | The growing market for weather bets. SpaceNews. Published May 26, 2021. Accessed November 1, 2023. https://spacenews.com/connecting-the-dots-the-growing-market-for-weather-bets/
7) Lardinois F. Weather platform ClimaCell is now Tomorrow.io and raises $77M. TechCrunch. Published March 30, 2021. Accessed November 1, 2023. https://techcrunch.com/2021/03/30/weather-platform-climacell-is-now-tomorrow-io-and-raises-77m/
8) Lardinois F. ClimaCell plans to launch its own satellites to improve its weather predictions. TechCrunch. Published February 24, 2021. Accessed November 1, 2023. https://techcrunch.com/2021/02/24/climacell-plans-to-launch-its-own-satellites-to-improve-its-weather-predictions/
The information compiled and edited in this article was provided by Herbert J. Kramer from his documentation of: "Observation of the Earth and Its Environment: Survey of Missions and Sensors" (Springer Verlag) as well as many other sources after the publication of the 4th edition in 2002. - Comments and corrections to this article are always welcome for further updates (firstname.lastname@example.org).