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Tag: Satellites

US firm picks UK for weather satellites

US firm picks UK for weather satellites

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your deviceA miniaturised instrument to monitor the weather will be the first payload to fly on one of the UK's new publicly funded demonstration satellites. US-based Orbital Micro Systems will launch their microwave radiometer aboard the 30cm-long spacecraft next year to retrieve temperature, humidity and precipitation measurements. If successful, OMS plans a 40-strong constellation of similar satellites. OMS is moving into Britain because of the support offered to new space firms. Originating in Colorado, the company is opening a data-processing centre in Harwell, Oxfordshire, and a hardware facility in Glasgow, Scotland. "The UK's In-Orbit Demonstration programme is unique; it doesn't exist anywhere else," says OMS CEO William Hosack. "The speed with whi...
Satellites spy Antarctic 'upside-down ice canyon'

Satellites spy Antarctic 'upside-down ice canyon'

Science
Scientists have identified a way in which the effects of Antarctic melting can be enhanced. Their new satellite observations of the Dotson Ice Shelf show its losses, far from being even, are actually focused on a long, narrow sector. In places, this has cut an inverted canyon through more than half the thickness of the shelf structure. If the melting continued unabated, it would break Dotson in 40-50 years, not the 200 years currently projected. "That is unlikely to happen because the ice will respond in some way to the imbalance," said Noel Gourmelen, from the University of Edinburgh, UK. "It's possible the area of thinning could widen or the flow of ice could change. Both would affect the rate at which the channel forms. "But the important point here is that Dotson is not a flat slab and...