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pathfinder

Meet Tomorrow.io’s Pathfinder Satellites

The first of Tomorrow.io’s constellation, Tomorrow-R1 and Tomorrow-R2, are ushering in a new era of precision and functionality in Earth observation.

pathfinder

Pioneering the Future of Earth Observation

As pioneers in our constellation, Tomorrow.io’s Pathfinder radar satellites are blazing a new trail in weather and climate observation, proving the capabilities of private industry in providing science-quality spaceborne radar observations for operational forecasting.

Equipped with a state-of-the-art precipitation radar payload, Tomorrow-R1 and Tomorrow-R2 employ innovative operational modes and meticulous instrument calibration to realize precipitation measurements of unprecedented sensitivity and accuracy, ushering in a new paradigm in Earth observation.

Launched in 2023, the Pathfinder radars serve a three-fold purpose for Tomorrow.io’s first-of-its-kind multi-sensor constellation:

  • Demonstrate advanced radar subsystems and sampling techniques
  • Acquire diverse datasets of cloud, precipitation, and surface backscatter for optimal geophysical algorithm development
  • Ensure accurate instrument calibration and validation of retrieved geophysical products

The Pathfinders
At a Glance

  • Spacecraft
    85kg
  • Orbit
    550 km / SSO
  • Instrument
    Ka-Band Software
    Defined Radar
  • Antenna
    Cassegrain reflector
    (~1.1 m²)
  • Frequency
    35.5-36 GHz
  • Vertical Resolution
    250 m
  • Sensitivity
    <10 dBZ
  • Class
    ESPA
  • Class
    ESPA
pathfinder

Harnessing Breakthrough Radar Innovation

Powering the Pathfinder satellites is a next-generation Ka-band radar. This game-changing technology enables detailed, accurate, and rapid observations of Earth’s atmosphere and surface like never before.

  • high (>400 MHz) and low bandwidth modes
  • Wide field of view (> 400 km )on the ground.
  • Beam size on ground 5km
  • 35.5-36 GHz Ka-band

Exquisite Vertical Detail and Adaptable Sampling

Arbitrarily tunable 35.5-36 GHz Ka-band transceiver provides precision data capture with stunning spatial detail, nominally sampling with 250 m vertical resolution.

Flexible Horizontal Coverage with High Resolution

A solid, fixed reflector results in high horizontal resolution (5 km ground footprint at nadir). Spacecraft attitude agility enables directed targeting of land/atmosphere features within a wide field of view (> 400 km on the ground).

Multimodal Radar Sampling

ARENA(trademark) permits pulse-to-pulse reconfigurability between high (>400 MHz) and low bandwidth modes to optimize atmospheric and surface measurements.

Delivering Unmatched On-Orbit Performance

Set at a strategic orbital altitude of 500 km, the Pathfinders offer:

Innovative Operational Modes

High-duty cycle (30%) Ka-band radar with frequency-diverse waveforms provides unmatched sensitivity, optimized for detecting precipitation, surface scatterometry, and centimetric radar altimetry through reconfigurable sampling.

Near Surface Precipitation Detection

Tomorrow-R1/R2 radars achieve high-resolution and accurate geolocation of precipitation by suppressing surface clutter and detecting near-surface precipitation, providing the clearest picture at the Earth’s surface where it matters most.

Science-Quality Instrument Calibration

Comprehensively characterize radar calibration through pre-launch target testing, a high-fidelity transceiver calibration loop, comparative assessments, and a dedicated ground-based active calibration system.

Tomorrow.io’s Pathfinders are just the beginning. Combined with radar and sounder-equipped satellites, our multi-sensor constellation will revolutionize weather forecasting

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