Varda reentry in Utah

Varda Space Industries is pushing scientific and technological boundaries with their low earth orbit work. Their business is accelerating the development of commercial space infrastructure. “From more powerful fiber optic cables to new, life-saving pharmaceuticals, there is a world of products used on Earth today that can only be manufactured in space.”

Varda Space Industries logo

The Challenge

In June 2023, Varda successfully launched its W-Series 1 (Winnebago 1) spacecraft where it would conduct experiments to grow crystals of ritonavir, a drug commonly used to treat HIV, inside a miniature lab mounted to the side of a satellite. The Varda-developed capsule was part of a Rocket Lab Photon spacecraft launched on SpaceX’s Transporter-8 rideshare mission. In anticipation of their spacecraft reentry in mid July, Varda was looking for meteorological consulting to help predict cloud coverage in southern Idaho.

Image of W-Series 1 Varda Space Industries

The Solution

Praedictix was excited to help with this unique opportunity to provide low and high level cloud forecasts to Varda for reentry.  Our team of meteorologists assembled weekly and daily briefings leading up to the reentry date with additional phone consults throughout the process. Flexibility was key as reentry was delayed significantly. Praedictix was able to quickly pivot with the changing reentry schedule. Varda finally was able to successfully land the W-Series 1 mission at the Utah Test and Training Range west of Salt lake City at 4:40 PM Eastern on February 21st, 2024.

varda w-series 1 landing

“The Praedictix team stepped in to support Varda when we were planning the reentry of our first spacecraft from low-Earth orbit to land in Utah. Todd and the team were a great help running weather predictions, explaining the reports, and making suggestions for filming locations. We loved the collaborative approach Praedictix took with our team to work through changes in weather scheduling during our mission. We really cannot thank them enough.”

Jonathan Barr

COO, Varda Space Industries

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