Ball Aerospace has concluded the testing of the first space vehicle for Space Systems Command’s next-generation operational environmental satellite system.
The company said Thursday the Weather System Follow–on–Microwave satellite is scheduled for launch in early 2024 from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California and will provide the Department of Defense with space-based environmental monitoring capabilities.
Once deployed, the satellite will help DOD monitor the speed and direction of ocean winds and measure tropical cyclone intensity, snow depth, ice thickness and soil moisture.
“The data this satellite gathers will be invaluable in ensuring our nation’s warfighters across all domains have the environmental intelligence they need to properly plan and execute their vital missions,” said Hope Damphousse, vice president of strategic operations at Ball Aerospace.
In January, Ball Aerospace completed the WSF-M’s spacecraft bus and concluded the environmental assessment for the system’s microwave imager technology, paving the way for the program to enter final assembly, integration and testing stages.
The U.S. Space Force awarded Ball Aerospace a five-year, $78.3 million contract modification in November 2022 to build a second satellite for the WSF-M program.