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Satellite Missions Catalogue

Tomorrow R1, R2

Last updated:Nov 21, 2023

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Tomorrow.io

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.

Quick facts

Overview

Mission typeEO
AgencyTomorrow.io
Launch dateApr 2023

Artist's rendition of Tomorrow R2 satellite (Image credit: Tomorrow.io)

Summary

Mission Capabilities

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.

Performance Specifications

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).
 

Overview

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.

Figure 1: Tomorrow-R1 and Tomorrow-R2 (Image credit: Tomorrow.io)

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.

Figure 2: Tomorrow.io development and launch timeline (Image credit: Tomorrow.io)

Spacecraft

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.

Launch

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.

Mission Status

  • 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.
Figure 3: Tomorrow.io’s CHATGPT plugin (Image credit: Tomorrow.io)

 

  • 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.

Sensor Complement

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.

Ground Segment

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).

References  

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/

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