Solar Arrays Case Study

Making Next Week’s Weather Forecast as Accurate as Tomorrow’s

In 1979 Voyager became the first satellite to use radio occultation to study details of planetary atmospheres with high accuracy – a scientific hallmark that proved Jupiter’s atmosphere to be dominated by helium and chemically very similar to our sun.

Forty years later, Dr. Chris McCormick and his team of scientists and engineers at PlanetiQ are adapting radio occultation to a constellation of low Earth orbiting SmallSats that promise to improve the accuracy of weather forecasting tenfold.  Each of the PlanetiQ satellites weigh roughly 30kg and will measure signals from global navigation satellite systems like the U.S.’s GPS, Europe’s Galileo and China’s Beidou constellations, as they pass through the atmosphere to detect key indices of weather like humidity, pressure, and wind speed.

Scheduled for launch on an upcoming Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) launch, the first two of these small weather sentinels will be powered by Roccor’s deployable solar arrays.

Refreshing the typical aerospace approach

  • Making the PiQ arrays faster, better, and cheaper required close collaboration with our customer.
  • Our solar arrays were designed in parallel to the spacecraft to meet mission goals and all requirements for all sub systems.
  • While it can take some companies over 18 months, Roccor’s agile engineering and supplier agreements allowed us to have the first prototype ready in less than nine months.
  • Read more about recent solar array work we did with PlanetiQ.

PlanetiQ Solar Array in Test

PlanetiQ Solar Array in Test