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Honeywell Changing How Weather Is Forecasted With Launch Of Innovative Laser-Based System

Honeywell Changing How Weather Is Forecasted With Launch Of Innovative Laser-Based System

  • Honeywell HALAS provides accurate high-altitude atmospheric data in support of rocket and satellite launches

PHOENIX, October, 09, 2023 – Bob Dylan famously sang “you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows,” but if you’re trying to successfully launch a rocket into space, it helps to have the most detailed weather data possible. That’s where Honeywell’s (NASDAQ: HON) new state-of-the-art weather information system comes in.

Honeywell’s new high-altitude LiDAR atmospheric sensing (HALAS) system is remotely operated and ground-based. It uses laser pulses to provide near real-time, high-altitude atmospheric measurements with more accuracy and relevance than radar-based measurements made by other ground-based systems or weather balloons. Although the path of a weather balloon is unpredictable, with HALAS, users can pinpoint the exact location in the atmosphere where weather data is needed, and that location can quickly and easily be adjusted.

An important application for Honeywell’s new system is rocket and satellite launches, which require highly accurate forecasts and are growing rapidly in number. According to McKinsey & Company research, the number of satellite communications launches has grown by about 15% a year since 2017. Looking ahead to 2030, under a heavy-demand scenario, McKinsey anticipates as many as 65,000 new communications satellites and 3,000 noncommunications satellites to launch. With the number and frequency of launches expected to grow so rapidly, Honeywell is preparing to meet the increased need for better, more timely weather information at launch sites.

This past June, HALAS supported the successful launch of BAE Systems’ High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS) Uncrewed Aerial System (UAS) PHASA-35®. The PHASA-35’s flight trial exceeded 66,000 feet in altitude before landing safely.

“Honeywell’s HALAS played a critical role during PHASA-35’s successful stratospheric flight,” said Paul Mitchell, the chief meteorologist for BAE supporting the flight. “The reduced data delivery time and the ability to monitor meteorological conditions directly overhead would not be possible with a radiosonde carried by a weather balloon. HALAS data allowed for quick verification across our meteorological modelling, leading to the most accurate high-resolution data input into our mission planning tools. It is game-changing technology, which assisted and facilitated multiple tactical environmental decisions during our HAPS operation.”

“Weather is a common cause of launches being scrubbed, and that’s an expensive proposition,” said Matt Picchetti, vice president and general manager, Navigation and Sensors, Honeywell Aerospace. “By adopting HALAS, government agencies and launch companies can increase the number of launches per year and dramatically reduce incidences of last-minute launch cancellations. There is no significant incremental cost for our customers to use HALAS, and the system can provide more timely, accurate and relevant data for targeted areas that will prove beneficial to organizations requiring up-to-the-minute weather information.”

Today, HALAS measures atmospheric pressure, temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction. Additional capabilities being planned include aerosol measurement, optical turbulence and gas sensing. HALAS is available via a “data as a service” model under which Honeywell owns, operates and maintains the equipment while customers pay for the collected data.


About Honeywell

Honeywell Aerospace products and services are found on virtually every commercial, defense and space aircraft. The Aerospace business unit builds aircraft engines, cockpit and cabin electronics, wireless connectivity systems, mechanical components and more. Its hardware and software solutions create more fuel-efficient aircraft, more direct and on-time flights and safer skies and airports. For more information, visit or follow us at @Honeywell_Aero.

Honeywell ( delivers industry-specific solutions that include aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings and industry; and performance materials globally. Our technologies help aircraft, buildings, manufacturing plants, supply chains and workers become more connected to make our world smarter, safer and more sustainable. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit

Adam Kress
Director, External Communications