The World has a Disaster Problem

& Industry has a Data Problem


Orbital Micro Systems

AAC Clyde Space are building the next CubeSat for customer Orbital Micro Systems (OMS), as a part of the company’s Global Environmental Monitoring System (GEMS). This constellation improves the precision and clarity of weather forecasts around the globe by capturing passive microwave soundings to record temperature, humidity and precipitation at multiple altitudes, regardless of cloud cover.

The repeat spacecraft order, this time a 6U CubeSat that will be launched as part of the UK Space Launch Programme, follows its 3U CubeSat sister (IOD-1 GEMS). IOD-1 GEMS, also built by AAC Clyde Space, operated in orbit for an extraordinary period from July 2019 through April 2021 when the spacecraft de-orbited, delivering unique data that translates into highly reliable weather intelligence for a broad range of customers.

During its first year of operation, IOD-1 GEMS captured images of Super Typhoon Hagibis and numerous other weather systems over oceans and land that were not observed concurrently by other orbiting radiometers. The data it transmitted is being validated by numerous organisations enabled OMS to demonstrate its commercial business model with sales to the US Air Force and other customers.

As well as build, launch and commissioning services, AAC Clyde Space are also integrating the dedicated OMS payload into this latest platform. This development highlights the transition of the GEMS programme to a commercial project and marks an important step towards the realisation of OMS’s plan to deploy a full constellation of small satellites as part of it. By capturing 3D passive microwave observations at every point on Earth every 15 minutes, GEMS aims to revolutionise our ability to track and predict severe weather systems and climate change.

The world needs more accurate weather forecasting. Extreme weather events – from excessive rainfall to coastal flooding and wildfires – were responsible for much devastation across our planet in recent years. All too often, the response is reactionary because businesses and governments lack the information needed to prepare. The result is unnecessary lives lost, business disruption and major insurance costs. The United Nations estimates the direct economic losses from weather disasters between 1998 and 2017 at almost $3 trillion. AAC Clyde Space is working with OMS, amongst others, to deliver accurate and timely weather information to businesses worldwide and enable faster, informed decision-making in the face of weather-driven emergencies.

We’re delighted to once again work with AAC Clyde Space and leverage their expertise and commitment to engineering outstanding bus products"
Michael Hurowitz, Chief Executive Officer, OMS

At full deployment, GEMS will deliver near real-time data for any point on Earth. This will enable governments and businesses worldwide – from insurance to aerospace, maritime, energy and agriculture – to improve their understanding of our environment, create operational efficiencies and minimise disruption and damage caused by extreme weather.

Through GEMS, AAC Clyde Space further extends its involvement in space missions aimed at enhancing the understanding of our environment. Missions of this kind help us all on the quest for safer and more sustainable life on Earth. We are also delighted to note that this is the second programme in a short time that has advanced from demonstration to commercialisation, thereby leveraging the advantages that small satellites offer commercial applications.