The U.S. Space Force has exercised contract options by selecting General Atomics and Orion Space Solutions to build and launch demonstration satellites as part of the Electro-Optical/Infrared Weather System program.
Orion Space Solutions will deploy a EO/IR Cubesat prototype in the fall of 2022 for a one-year demonstration, Space Systems Command said Monday.
General Atomics’ electromagnetic systems group will conduct a three-year demonstration of a small satellite prototype, which is expected to provide operational data by 2025.
The command expects the EWS satellites to replace the aging Defense Meteorological Satellite Program and support U.S. and its NATO allies in providing weather data that are important to warfighters’ operations, including combat search and rescue, enemy missile observation, maritime surface tracking and intelligence collection.
Lt. Col. Joseph Maguadog, EWS materiel leader and program manager, said the branch’s Space-Based Environmental Monitoring capabilities provide the Department of Defense with space and terrestrial weather data to help it plan, implement and assess mission operations on a daily basis.
The command also announced that it concluded all final design reviews for the EWS program.