Six COSMIC-2 satellites will deploy aboard a SpaceX-built Falcon Heavy spacecraft on June 24 as part of a U.S. Air Force mission that aims to optimize space weather monitoring and forecast functions. The satellites will gather weather, atmospheric and electron density data in the ionosphere to help the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast climate and weather conditions as part of the Space Test Program-2 mission, the agency said Tuesday.
“COSMIC-2 will gather information about the vertical temperature and humidity of the atmosphere in the tropics, which holds most of the moisture that drives global weather patterns,” said Louis Uccellini, director at NOAA's National Weather Service.
Additionally, the satellites will secure signals from the Global Navigation Satellite System to assist scientists in the validation of atmospheric pressure, moisture content and temperature. The initiative follows a previously conducted mission in 2006 which saw COSMIC satellites travel around Earth in near polar orbits.