Submitted by James Bynoe
As a Barbadian from Silver Sands, Christ Church I would have never dreamed that someday I would have an opportunity to contribute to a NASA space program in the area of cyber security.
Yet a few hours ago … we successfully launched into space the long awaited NPP satellite. The NPP satellite represents the latest generation of U.S. polar-orbiting satellites designed to monitor global environmental conditions and collect and disseminate data related to weather, atmosphere, oceans, and land and near-space environment. The NPP satellite will circle the earth approximately once every “100 minutes”. It reached a forward speed of 13,000 mph in just about 4 minutes time from lift off. This is about the time the booster rockets detached, but long after it is visible to us on the ground.
During these rotations, it will be providing global coverage, monitoring environmental conditions, collecting, disseminating and processing data about the Earth’s weather, atmosphere, oceans, land, and near-space environment, which includes Barbados.
The system will be able to monitor the entire planet and provide data for long-range weather and climate forecasts. The data gathered will aid in reducing the potential loss of human life and property by allowing more efficient disaster planning and response to severe weather conditions such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods.
Citizens across the globe including Barbados will benefit from the NPP satellite’s data in the areas of general aviation, agriculture, and maritime activities. The system will collect a massive amount of very precise earth surface, atmospheric and space environmental measurements from a variety of on-board sensors. This volume of data will allow scientists and forecasters to monitor and predict weather patterns with greater speed and accuracy.
As I sit here in my office reflecting on this moment I am privately proud as a Barbadian to have played a role in the successful launching of this satellite, with warm thoughts on my mother, grandmother and teachers who played critical roles in my education and where I am today.
However, I am “not” special as I believe that are many young Barbadians much smarter that I am who can and will make significant contributions to building a better Barbados and World.