FAIRMONT, W.Va. – The I-79 Technology Park is getting a new satellite program. The Space Weather Follow On-Lagrange 1 (SWFO L-1) is an observatory that will focused on studying space weather. It will collect data on things, like the radiation of the sun and climate change.
“Well, the climate is changing,” said Jim Estep, President and CEO of the High Technology Foundation. “Why? They’re still trying to figure it out, but it is changing, and the implications are just incredible for coastal cities, for farming, for air travel, so it’s very complicated. And so, having this new program operational is really going to provide and enormous amount of new data that’s going to help all the science agencies provide some answers. Both on how we can protect ourselves, but also how we can adapt.”
The High Technology Foundation has been working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who runs the National Weather Service, for years to put this satellite in Fairmont.
“They’re trying to get more and more federal operations out of the greater Washington D.C area because there’s just too many,” Estep said. “It’s creating a national security problem and the cost of operations are so bad in D.C that its literally the worst place in the country to spend taxpayer money.”
The 13-meter antenna will join two other satellite ground systems, GOES-R and a joint polar satellite system, that NOAA already has at technology park. The old two satellite programs study earth, climate and weather.
Estep said construction for the new satellite is expected to start in the next month.
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