Weathernews’ first compact satellite: a solar-flare sentry monitoring the earth’s magnetosphere

WNISAT-1 is compact satellite orbiting earth for geomagnetic storm detection as sensory infrastructure for service menu that supports flight operations in the North Pole where geomagnetic activity is concentrated. Originally, WNISAT-1 was a compact satellite designed and built by Weathernews to monitor and predict ice conditions in the Arctic Sea. However, its main camera and internal bus failed shortly after achieving a stable orbit.

Rather than write off this satellite as a loss, Weathernews asked, what can we do with this satellite? Even with its camera offline, WNISAT-1 was capable of monitoring changes in the Earth’s magnetosphere. When the sun flares, it blasts Earth with a cloud of solar plasma that can violently disrupt the magnetic field around the planet, and interfere with the proper functioning of electronic equipment, particularly that used for communications aboard aircraft. These disruptions in the Earth’s magnetosphere are particularly intense at high latitudes like the North Pole, and thus pose a significant safety risk. The geomagnetic data from WNISAT-1 is transmitted to Earth, and analyzed by the Space Vehicle Operation Center (SVOC) at Weathernews Global Center. This data available for anyone to view on the SVOC website, and also an forecast element of innovative value-creating Weathernews risk communication services that verify solar flares to support aircraft and ships operating in the North Pole.


270 × 270 × 270 mm
(No protrusions included)
Attitude Control
Three-axis control (Nadir pointing with 0.1° accuracy)


Launch Date/Time
4:10:11 p.m. (Japan Standard Time)
November 21, 2013
Launch Vehicle
Launch Site
Yasny Launch Base, Russia
Sun-synchronous, 600km altitude, 10:30 LTDN

Data from the WNISAT- is available for anyone to see at the SVOC website: