Hampton University
Hampton University Implements Direct Broadcast Weather Antenna
09/22/2016 - #29

Hampton, Va - The Hampton University department of atmospheric and planetary sciences installed a NASA-funded five-million dollar “Direct Broadcast Antenna,” September 26 atop the downtown Hampton Harbour Center. The antenna provides technological capabilities that will rival most weather channels and meteorologists in the country. It will also expose HU student scientists, faculty researchers and the Hampton Roads community to breakthrough satellite data. 

“Having the ability to engage in big data analytics, the Hampton University Direct Broadcast Antenna will provide the residents of Hampton Roads with information in real time about approaching hurricanes, tornadoes and other severe weather events. This means that Hampton University will be providing information to the Hampton Roads community about these devastating storms, before any other means of forecasting,” said HU President Dr. William R. Harvey.

The Hampton Harbour Center location was chosen because the antenna must be able to see the satellites as they fly over, so it’s important not to have any trees or buildings blocking the view of the sky. Making the top of a tall building perfect for an obstruction free view. 

HU has negotiated and prepped for the antenna’s arrival over the past five years. The “Direct Broadcast Antenna” will help to recognize HU as a premier research university, as it is one of just ten such antennas nationwide. HU’s will be the only antenna hosted by an HBCU. The antenna, manufactured and maintained by the company Orbital Systems, can receive images and data from the NASA and NOAA weather satellites as they fly overhead.  This means HU will receive the most up-to-date atmospheric information possible for the Hampton Roads area.

“The Direct Broadcast System that we are installing is a great way for Hampton University to make a positive impact on the lives and livelihoods of the people in our community,” said Dr. William B. Moore, Director of HU:CARE, and Associate Professor in the HU School of Science.

Data brought down by the antenna will be publicly available. HU students looking to get involved in antenna-based research should get in touch with the Hampton University Center for Atmospheric Research and Education (HU:CARE). 

The antenna is part of HU:CARE, a research center funded by NASA. HU:CARE also includes faculty from the Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (APS) and Physics Departments, as well as partners from NASA Langley Research Center, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Maryland.  HU’s Dr. William Smith, Distinguished Professor within APS and an active satellite and airborne experimentalist, has been the driving force behind getting the antenna to campus.

This technology could also potentially service NASA Langley Air Force Base, the Department of Defense, the National Weather Service at Wakefield, local television broadcast companies, and many other organizations.




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