by Clarence Oxford
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Feb 08, 2024
Ball Aerospace has announced the successful delivery of the Weather System Follow-on - Microwave (WSF-M) satellite to Vandenberg Space Force Base, marking a significant milestone in the U.S. Space Force's efforts to enhance operational environmental monitoring capabilities. This satellite, delivered to Santa Barbara County, California, represents the first of two sophisticated systems that Ball Aerospace is set to provide for the Space Systems Command's next-generation environmental satellite system.
Scheduled for a late March launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the WSF-M satellite is poised to revolutionize space-based environmental intelligence. Equipped with a Ball-built Microwave Imager (MWI), the satellite will capture real-time data critical to military operations, including sea ice conditions, surface winds, the intensity of tropical cyclones, snow depth, soil moisture, and more. This comprehensive environmental data is essential for the planning and execution of military operations, offering a new level of insight into the natural elements that can impact mission success.
Thai Sheridan, vice president and general manager of Military Space at Ball Aerospace, emphasized the satellite's significance, stating, "The WSF-M satellite will provide a new level of environmental intelligence for our nation's military across all domains. We're proud of our role in this critical mission to support the safety of our warfighters and the success of their crucial operations around the world."
Beyond the MWI, Ball Aerospace's contributions to the WSF-M project include the design, construction, and integration of the spacecraft bus and the development of ground data processing software. Additionally, the satellite is equipped with an Energetic Charged Particle (ECP) sensor, a government-built component designed to measure space weather conditions, further underscoring the satellite's multifaceted capabilities in supporting military and defense initiatives.
In recognition of Ball Aerospace's expertise and the critical importance of the WSF-M mission, the company was awarded a follow-on contract in 2022 to build and deliver a second WSF-M satellite. This subsequent satellite, expected to be completed in 2026, will continue to advance the U.S. Space Force's capabilities in environmental monitoring from space, ensuring that the Department of Defense remains equipped with the most current and comprehensive environmental data available.
The deployment of the WSF-M satellite underscores a significant advancement in military environmental intelligence capabilities. By leveraging cutting-edge technology to monitor and analyze environmental conditions from space, the U.S. Space Force enhances its operational readiness and ensures the safety and effectiveness of its warfighters around the globe. Ball Aerospace's role in this mission highlights the company's continued leadership in the aerospace industry and its commitment to supporting national defense and security.