Ball Aerospace to Provide Second Weather Satellite to US Space Force
Ball Aerospace has received a $78.2 million contract modification to provide a second Weather System Follow-on Microwave Satellite to the U.S. Space Force, which plans to launch it in 2028. The first WSF-M spacecraft was ordered in 2018 and is set to be deployed in 2024, SpaceNews reported Friday.
The new satellite is meant to replace key functions of the aging Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, a military weather forecasting operation that began in the 1960s. The Space Force announced plans to procure new satellite support in January, issuing a request for information on a potential weather-data-as-a-service that uses electro-optical/infrared technology.
WSF-Ms are intended to utilize microwave imagers to quantify wind speed and direction, ice thickness, snow depth and other indicators. The service also wants the collected data to support the development of other weather products that support mission planning and operations.
Other government agencies have tasked Ball with supporting space-based meteorological activities. The company was selected alongside Raytheon Intelligence & Space in May to build an instrument that measures atmospheric composition for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geostationary Extended Observations project. The planned system is meant to map lightning patterns and capture day and night imagery, among other functions.
In October 2021, NASA awarded Ball and L3Harris Technologies 20-month, $8 million contracts to conduct preliminary studies for GeoXO.
Tags: Ball Aerospace contract modification Defense Meteorological Satellite Program space SpaceNews US Space Force Weather System Follow-on Microwave