The US Space Forces have ordered the US company Raytheon to develop and produce the first prototype of a new meteorological satellite, which is being created under the Next Generation Electro-Optical Infrared Weather Satellite program. It is assumed that spacecraft of this type will eventually replace the DMSP(the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program) a series of satellites.
The DMSP constellation was formed in the second half of the 1960s. It includes spacecraft equipped with optoelectronic and infrared systems. They are responsible for obtaining meteorological and oceanographic data for the benefit of the US Department of Defense. The satellites are located in polar and solar-synchronous orbits.
In the late 2000s, the US military held a tender for the development of a new meteorological satellite, but in 2012 the competition was cancelled. Raytheon was selected to develop the satellite following a new competition announced in 2017.
Raytheon is expected to design a new spacecraft within the next eight months. Details of the upcoming work were not disclosed. The first satellite developed under the Next Generation Electro-Optical Infrared Weather Satellite is expected to be launched into orbit in 2024.
In April of this year, the U.S. company Ball Aerospace defended the WSF (Weather System Follow-on satellite) meteorological satellite project, which is being developed by order of the US Space Force.
The promising WSF satellite will collect data on oceanic vector winds, the intensity of tropical cyclones and the density of charged particles in low Earth orbit. Among other things, this data will allow for more accurate planning of fleet operations, as well as predicting possible communication interruptions and assessing the state of the ionosphere.