Millennium Space Systems has completed the preliminary design review (PDR) of its disaggregated weather satellite pathfinder (DWSP) spacecraft, which is being offered as a replacement for the US military’s current defense meteorological satellite program (DMSP).

Performed under a fixed-price contract with the US Air Force (USAF) Space & Missiles Center’s Defense Weather Systems Directorate, the review confirms that the DWSP design directly supports the air force’s weather satellite follow-on activities (WSFA) to assess more affordable and responsive solutions to replace the DMSP weather mission.

As part of the 14-month contract, the company completed a thorough preliminary design for its proposed DWSP based on its AQUILA M2 platform, and also designed accommodation on the platform for multiple critical military weather payloads.

Millennium DWSP programme manager Michael Mahoney said the contract work demonstrates the company’s ability to rapidly and effectively accommodate several relevant payloads, such as JPL’s Compact Ocean Wind Vector Radiometer (COWVR).

Nahoney said, "Declining space budgets continue to be the forcing function for new and innovative solutions, supported by smaller satellites, resilient & disaggregated architectures, more affordable & relevant payloads, and more flexible & dynamic ground system solutions."

"The company completed a thorough preliminary design for its proposed DWSP based on its AQUILA M2 platform."

Millennium DWSP chief engineer Dr Nirav Shah said: "Our family of AQUILA and ALTAIR spacecraft bus platforms accommodates several different weather payloads in addition to COWVR, with ample volume, power, and data interface capability available for secondary payloads."

The PDR positions the company to develop, manufacture and integrate DWSP within two years of a flight contract award, thereby avoiding gaps in critical military weather satellite coverage and providing an early operational pathfinder for disaggregated weather satellite architecture.

Manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the DMSP collects and provides terrestrial, space environment and Earth surface data to help the US military in planning operations on the ground, at sea and in the air.

Image: An impression of USAF’s DMSP Block-5D2 satellite in orbit. Photo: courtesy of GDK.

Defence Technology