The satellites will measure the variation of sun radiance over time, information that is important for weather and climate research. Bad space weather in the upper atmosphere can damage satellites and other infrastructure in orbit, as well the power grid on Earth.
Several Norwegian government agencies will use the satellite data to monitor ship traffic, detect illegal fishing, search and rescue missions, trace oil spill from ships and more.
NorSat-2 will also test a new standard for maritime communication. With this system, information about navigation, weather, ice conditions, and search and rescue missions can be sent to ships that have unstable or lack of coverage for other types of communication, such as in the polar areas. If this is successful, this new system may eventually become the standard for maritime communication across the globe.
The satellites are primarily financed by the Norwegian Coastal Administration and the Norwegian Space Centre, and were lifted off with a Soyuz-launcher from the Russian spaceport in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Video of the launch:
Story sourced from Norwegian Space Centre.