Ogden weather business gets OK for space tech

Tuesday , July 22, 2014 - 4:33 PM

OGDEN — The Department of Commerce has given the go-ahead for an Ogden-based weather observation company to begin building the technology that will allow it to sell its weather data to commercial and government customers around the world.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a division of the commerce department, recently issued a license to Ogden-based Tempus Global Inc. that allows the company to build and operate a series of imaging and sounding instruments that compile weather data thousands of miles above the Earth’s surface.

Dubbed, “Sounding & Tracking Observatory for Regional Meteorology” instrument, the equipment is built by Utah State University and is designed to be hosted on satellites flying in geostationary orbit, able to constantly observe a predetermined spot on Earth from 22,000 miles into space.

Alan Hall, Tempus president and chief executive officer, said STORM is a derivative of a similar instrument built as part of a former NASA program. The government spent approximately $400 million on research for the instrument, but it never flew because the program was canceled.

Hall said once STORM is launched and operational, it will enable Tempus to sell weather data to governments and commercial organizations as an alternative to those entities building their own weather tracking systems with associated manufacturing and launch costs and technical risks.

“Customers will receive the best weather information available without assuming the responsibility of building a weather sensor, launching it into orbit, and hoping it works once it’s there,” Hall said.

According to the Tempus website, the STORM instrument measures a dense grid of temperature, moisture and wind which can then be used for atmospheric analyses and operational weather predictions.

Hall said that STORM, which is far more sensitive than current weather satellites, will better predict localized severe weather, determining things like the timing and destination of hurricanes and tornadoes.

Contact reporter Mitch Shaw at 801-625-4233 or mishaw@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at@mitchshaw23.

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