Space: January 10, 2003


The U.S. launched a military weather satellite called Coriolis on December 15th. This bird will accurately track ocean wind speeds, and detect oncoming solar storms. This provides a critical information advantage for U.S. forces. Knowing details of approaching storms, in this case wind speeds, can help American naval forces avoid interruption of operations and damage to ships. Older weather satellites could track storm systems, but not details like wind speeds. The other ability of Coriolis is detecting oncoming solar storms. The sun frequently throws off large masses of electromagnetic energy, which moves towards earth at speeds of up to 2.2 million miles an hour. This energy, when it hits the earth, damages power distribution systems and space satellites, as well as interfering with wireless communications. Coriolis provides one to three days warning that such a solar storm is coming. This allows damage and disruption to be minimized, at least for those who have the warning. In wartime, the U.S. would not share this information with enemy forces, this providing a tangible example of "information superiority."


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