Raytheon to design weather satellite prototype for US Space Force – C4ISRNet

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Space Force has selected Raytheon Intelligence & Space to build an advanced weather satellite prototype that can provide the military with theater weather imaging and cloud characterization, the company announced July 22.

The Next Generation Electro-Optical Infrared Weather Satellite is intended to replace the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, or DMSP, a series of satellites that have provided weather data for military operations since the 1960s.

In 2015, Congress directed the Air Force to replace DMSP with a new weather system. As of last year, the satellites in the DMSP constellation were reaching the end of their service life, and the Pentagon expressed concerns that they may not last until a new satellite is launched in 2024.

ORS-8, a planned replacement slated to launch in 2020 in partnership with NASA, was canceled by the space agency following protests. A free-flying spacecraft that could help provide weather data in the interim was scrapped by the Pentagon last year in favor of a distributed low-Earth orbit architecture.

A conceptional drawing of the Weather System Follow-on—Microwave satellite is shown. (Ball Aerospace)