Commercial Weather Data Pilot (CWDP) and Commercial Data Purchase (CDP)
The NOAA Commercial Space Policy calls for NOAA to explore and pursue demonstration projects to validate the viability of adding commercial environmental data and products into NOAA’s meteorological models and to meet NOAA Earth observation requirements.
NOAA’s Commercial Weather Data Pilot (CWDP) will serve as one such demonstration project. NOAA will evaluate commercial data to demonstrate the quality of the data and its impact to weather forecast models, and to inform NOAA’s process for ingesting, evaluating, and utilizing commercial data in the future.
Based on the findings of recent market research and FAR processes (e.g., Requests for Information), NOAA selected GNSS radio occultation as the most suitable data type for the first two rounds of the CWDP.
Commercial Radio Occultation Data Purchase (2020-2022)
Delivery Order 2
On February 19, 2021, NOAA awarded Delivery Order 2 (DO-2) under its existing Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts for radio occultation (RO) data to GeoOptics.
Through DO-2, NOAA will purchase 1300 occultations per day for six months from March to September, with a license to share the data with U.S. government agencies immediately upon receipt and to share on a full and open basis after 24 hours. Following verification of data and system readiness, NOAA plans to begin incorporating commercial RO data into operational numerical weather prediction (NWP) models in May.
Under DO-1, awarded in November 2020, NOAA purchased 500 occultations per day for 30 days from GeoOptics and Spire Global. NOAA successfully used the DO-1 data to verify data quality and formats and to conduct an end-to-end test flow of data through NOAA’s ingest, distribution, and archive systems and into NWP models.
Subsequent Delivery Orders will be released throughout the two-year IDIQ contract period at NOAA’s discretion, to continue the flow of commercial RO data into NOAA’s NWP models.
CWDP Round 3 & Other NOAA Requirements
Request for Information
On September 30, 2020, NOAA released a Request for Information (RFI) seeking information on commercial capabilities to inform a potential CWDP Round 3 for terrestrial weather applications, as well as future pilots for space weather and other applications. NOAA may use the results of the RFI to inform multiple future Requests for Proposals for acquisition of commercial data and related capabilities. The comment period closed on October 30, 2020.
The NOAA Commercial Space Policy states that NOAA will “periodically solicit, identify, and evaluate commercially available space capabilities and services that could potentially address NOAA mission requirements.” The Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017 (P.L. 115-25) authorized a Pilot Program for the purchase and evaluation of commercial weather data. As part of NOAA’s ongoing implementation of this law and policy, the RFI solicited information from industry to inform NOAA’s plans for use of commercial capabilities.
The RFI gathered updates since NOAA’s last commercial capabilities RFI, released in May 2018. It sought information on commercial capabilities to support NOAA observation requirements in the FY 2021 through FY 2027 timeframe. NOAA plans to share responses received with relevant agencies to foster interagency coordination on approaches to purchasing space-based weather data for operational use within the Federal Weather Enterprise.
- May 2018: Request for Information (RFI)
CWDP Round 2 (2018-2019)
Summary of Results
On June 26, 2020, NOAA released the summary of the results of Commercial Weather Data Pilot (CWDP) Round 2. In Round 2, NOAA evaluated GNSS radio occultation data from two U.S. commercial space companies: GeoOptics and Spire. NOAA concludes that, based on the results of CWDP Round 2, the commercial sector is able to provide radio occultation data that can support NOAA’s operational products and services.
- Sept 2018: Contract Awards to GeoOptics, Spire Global, & Space Sciences and Engineering
- April 2018: Final RFP
- June 2017: Industry Day
- May 2017: Draft RFP
CWDP Round 1 (2016-2018)
Origin & Initial Plan
FY 2016 Direction
Congress initiated the CWDP with the following language in the FY 2016 omnibus funding measure:
Commercial Weather Data Pilot.—NOAA shall, through an open competitive process, seek to enter into at least one pilot contract to assess the potential viability of commercial weather data in its weather modeling and forecasting. This funding shall be used to purchase, evaluate, and calibrate available data, which meets the standards and specifications set by NOAA in its Commercial Data Policy. NOAA shall provide the Committees a report on how it plans to implement the commercial weather data pilot program not later than 60 days after the enactment of this Act.
Report to Congress
NOAA’s March 2016 report to Congress provides the initial plan to execute the CDWP, including timelines.