Ball Aerospace has been contracted to supply advanced operational environmental satellite system for the US Department of Defense (DoD).
The weather system follow-on-microwave (WSF-M) contract was awarded by the US Air Force’s (USAF) Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC).
Under the contract, the company will provide 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 (ECP) sensor.
The contract also requires the company to develop and fabricate two LEO satellites.
It has options for launch vehicle integration, launch and early orbit test, as well as operational test and evaluation support.
Commenting on the deal, Ball Aerospace president Rob Strain said: “We’re looking forward to expanding our work with the airforce and continuing to support warfighters and allies around the world.
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“WSF-M extends Ball’s legacy of providing precise measurements from space to enable more accurate weather forecasting.”
The WSF-M satellite has been designed to mitigate three high-priority DoD space-based environmental monitoring (SBEM) gaps that include ocean surface vector winds, tropical cyclone intensity, and LEO energetic-charged particles.
The satellite would improve weather forecasting over maritime regions, by taking global measurements of the atmosphere and ocean surface.
Ball will develop and integrate the entire microwave system, which includes the microwave instrument, spacecraft, and system software.
The new environmental satellite system will use the Ball-built global precipitation measurement (GPM) microwave imager (GMI) instrument, which is the on-orbit reference standard for calibrating precipitation measurements in Nasa’s GPM constellation.
The WSF-M bus will be based on the Ball Configurable Platform, a spacecraft with 50 years of on-orbit operations for affordable remote sensing applications.