A grass-roots gathering of the geoscience community calling themselves GEOScan are exploring the potential for using the Iridium NEXT communications constellation as a platform for earth observation. The Iridium NEXT constellation will consist of 66 cross-linked, low-Earth orbiting (LEO) satellites that intersect over the north and south poles, with plans to begin launching in 2015. The GEOScan concept is to develop integrated arrays of scientific sensors known as SensorPODs as payloads on these satellites for a lower cost public-private partnership. The group has expressed concerns about the reduced government funding of earth observation efforts, and warns that action must be taken to avoid a data gap.
A workshop is scheduled for March 27-30 in Annapolis, Maryland to gather ideas, proposals and feedback, with presentations and discussions on missions and sensors. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) will host this event under sponsorship of the National Science Foundation (NSF). A steering committee will meet on March 30 to pull together details for a proposal to the NSF.
For workshop information and online registration, visit http://workshops.jhuapl.edu/geoscan/.