by Clarence Oxford
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Feb 08, 2024
Space Systems Command (SSC) has announced the successful delivery of the first U.S. Space Force (USSF)-62 Weather System Follow-on - Microwave (WSF-M) Space Vehicle (SV) from Ball Aerospace's facility in Boulder, Colorado, to Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The satellite is set to undergo a series of comprehensive post-shipment tests and preparations, culminating in a scheduled launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in late March.
This significant achievement marks a pivotal moment for the WSF-M program, emphasizing the collaborative effort among the Space Force, Ball Aerospace, and various support and government teams. Col. Daniel Visosky, the senior material leader of SSC's Space Sensing Environmental and Tactical Surveillance program office, highlighted the milestone's importance, stating, "This delivery represents a major milestone for the WSF-M program and is a critical step towards putting the first WSF-M satellite on-orbit for the warfighter." He further emphasized the long-term partnership and unified effort that have been central to reaching this stage.
The WSF-M satellite, the first in a planned pair to be delivered by Ball Aerospace, signifies a new phase in the U.S. Space Force's deployment of modernized space-based environmental monitoring (SBEM) systems. These systems are designed to enhance the capabilities offered by the aging Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP), providing advanced weather prediction and analysis tools essential for joint warfighter missions around the globe.
David Betz, SSC Space Sensing's WSF-M program manager, elaborated on the satellite's objectives, stating, "The WSF-M satellite is a strategic solution tailored to address three high-priority Department of Defense SBEM gaps - specifically, ocean surface vector winds, tropical cyclone intensity, and energetic charged particles in low Earth orbit." Betz also noted the satellite's capacity to gather critical data on sea ice, soil moisture, and snow depth, underscoring its broad utility for defense and environmental monitoring.
Space Systems Command, as the U.S. Space Force's field command, plays an instrumental role in securing the nation's strategic interests in space. With an impressive $15 billion space acquisition budget, SSC collaborates closely with joint forces, industry leaders, government agencies, academic institutions, and allies to foster innovation and mitigate emerging space threats. This latest endeavor with the WSF-M satellite further cements SSC's commitment to advancing the United States' space capabilities and maintaining its competitive edge in the increasingly contested space domain.
As the WSF-M satellite progresses through its final testing phases and prepares for its journey to orbit, the collaboration between the Space Force, Ball Aerospace, and SpaceX showcases the collective effort to enhance the United States' space-based environmental monitoring and defense capabilities. This initiative not only addresses critical gaps in weather and environmental data collection but also reinforces the nation's ability to support global military operations with accurate and timely information.