Maybe this is why the weatherman is never right. It turns out satellites used by the government to detect weather here on earth aren't good enough for the U.S. Space Force.
Instead of getting its weather data from the government’s own satellites, the Defense Department wants to buy it from commercial vendors. As reported in military intelligence publication C4ISRNET, the DoD is seeking information from weather data-as-a-service providers. It might request formal bids later this year in the hopes of obtaining weather data in 2025.
According to the site, “While the Department of Defense has historically relied on its own electro-optical satellites to generate weather data for military operations, those satellites are aging and the Space Force is interested in using commercial providers to supply some of that data instead.” Some of those satellites are expected to become obsolete as soon as 2023, notes the report.
Commercial weather data suppliers include Esri, Visual Crossing and perhaps most famously, IBM, which provides its Weather Company data to business customers.
The DoD put out a request-for-information on Monday to conduct weather data market and cost research. The Defense Department is looking for a contractor to provide sensor data records – basically temperature information tagged with time and location – which are used to produce Environmental Data Records. Those environmental records feature information about things like cloud water vapor, sea ice, soil moisture and surface wind.
The RFI also mentions Theater Weather Imagery, which is used by meteorology and oceanography personnel to plan and execute military operations.