The 2020 hurricane season was one of the most active on record, and 2021’s is shaping up to be as well, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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Each year, large-scale weather events like hurricanes and blizzards cause millions of dollars in damage to homes and businesses. To help prevent unnecessary losses, the National Weather Service mission of NOAA makes observations from space to track weather events and issue the appropriate watches and warnings.

In the 1990s, Ella Herz was a contractor for Rockwell at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, where she developed software for space shuttle mission control, and her husband Alex worked on ground control systems at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. His primary project was control software for missions designed to do things like map forest health. There he met Doug George, a fellow programmer who was instrumental in these efforts.

The team saw room to improve the tools used to time events like taking pictures and firing thrusters in orbit. In 2000, the three former NASA experts started Greenbelt-based Orbit Logic to develop software solutions for the growing number of satellites in orbit. NASA employees and contractors occasionally start their own companies after leaving the agency.

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