01 Dec 2017

US Air Force awards contract for next-gen weather satellite

Ball Aerospace has been chosen by the US Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center to deliver the next-generation operational environmental satellite system, Weather System Follow-on – Microwave (WSF-M), for the Department of Defense.

The contract will encompass system design and risk reduction of a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite with a passive microwave imaging radiometer instrument and hosted Government furnished energetic charged particle sensor.

The deal will also include options for the development and fabrication of two LEO satellites as well as options for launch vehicle integration, launch and early orbit test, and operational test and evaluation support. It is envisaged the mission will improve weather forecasting over maritime regions by taking global measurements of the atmosphere and ocean surface.

As the prime contractor, Ball will be responsible for developing and integrating the entire microwave system, which includes the microwave instrument, spacecraft and system software.

WSF-M is designed to mitigate three high priority DoD Space-Based Environmental Monitoring gaps: ocean surface vector winds, tropical cyclone intensity and LEO energetic charged particles.

Rob Strain, President of Ball Aerospace said: “This is an exciting win for us, and we’re looking forward to expanding our work with the Air Force and continuing to support warfighters and allies around the world.

“WSF-M extends Ball’s legacy of providing precise measurements from space to enable more accurate weather forecasting.”

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