US Space Force declares IOC of infrared weather satellite EWS-G1

9 September 2020 (Last Updated September 9th, 2020 15:10)

The US Space Force (USSF) has announced the Initial Operational Capability (IOC) of the Electro-optical Infrared Weather System Geostationary (EWS-G1) spacecraft.

US Space Force declares IOC of infrared weather satellite EWS-G1
A view of the Earth from the EWS-G1 satellite taken on 1 September 2020. Credit: Credit: US Space Force’s MARK IV-B Program Office.

The US Space Force (USSF) has announced the Initial Operational Capability (IOC) of the Electro-optical Infrared Weather System Geostationary (EWS-G1) spacecraft.

The EWS-G1 is the first geostationary weather satellite owned by the US Department of Defense (DoD).

The satellite offers updated Cloud information and theatre weather imagery in the Indian Ocean region to DoD, meeting the needs of Central Command and other operating theatres.

Formerly named GOES-13, EWS-G1 was transferred from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to the USAF last year.

The transfer in accordance with the USAF-NOAA Agreement on Interagency Cooperation on Collection of Space-Based Environmental Monitoring Data.

EWS-G1’s transfer and migration are the results of a joint effort by the USSF’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), NOAA, and Nasa.

Following the transfer, NOAA and the US Space Force completed an inspection of the EWS-G1 spacecraft and sensors.

All conditions were satisfied to declare that the system is operating normally and the EWS-G1 provides weather data to DoD forecasters.

GOES-13 was originally launched in 2006 and provided ten years of operational weather coverage on the US East Coast following which it was replaced by GOES-16 in the GOES-East location.

NOAA will continue to operate EWS-G1 on the behalf of the US Space Force from the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Maryland as well as the Wallops Command and Data Collection Station in Virginia.

SMC Production Corps Low Earth Orbit Division chief Charlotte Gerhart said: “EWS-G1 is a prime example of innovation and the leveraging of partnerships. SMC partnered with NOAA and Nasa to deliver critically needed Geostationary visible and infrared cloud characterisation and theatre weather imagery in the Indian Ocean region.

“This effort demonstrates speed by allowing the spacecraft to be moved and operated in the Indian Ocean region far earlier than a new satellite could be produced and fielded.

“The repurposing of GOES-13, and residual NOAA ground equipment, accomplished the mission at a fraction of the procurement cost of a brand-new system.”

Last month, General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) planned to design and manufacture a prototype weather satellite for the USSF Electro-Optical Infrared (EO/IR) Weather System (EWS).