Weather System Follow-on Microwave

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The Weather System Follow-on Microwave (WSF-M) Satellite is the United States Department of Defense's next-generation operational environmental satellite system. WSF-M will be a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite with a passive microwave imaging radiometer instrument and hosted furnished Energetic Charged Particle (ECP) sensor.[1] The Air Force intends to include ECP sensors on all future satellites for space weather monitoring, starting from the early 2020s.[2] WSF-M is currently contracted for launch in 2022.[3]

WSF-M will be the first satellite in the Weather System Follow-on (WSF) program. Following the cancellation of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), the Air Force pursued development of a new weather satellite under the Defense Weather Satellite System (DWSS) program. However, when that system faced delays and funding issues, the White House cancelled it and instituted the WSF program.[4]

WSF-M is designed to mitigate three high priority DOD Space-Based Environmental Monitoring (SBEM) gaps: ocean surface vector winds, tropical cyclone intensity and LEO energetic charged particles.[1]


  1. ^ a b Russell, Kendall (30 November 2017). "Ball Aerospace Wins Air Force Contract for New Weather Satellite". Via Satellite. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  2. ^ Werner, Debra (March 6, 2019). "Are small satellites the solution for space weather monitoring?". SpaceNews. Retrieved 2019-10-13.
  3. ^ Foust, Jeff (8 March 2019). "GAO takes weather satellite program off watch list". SpaceNews. Retrieved 9 March 2019. The Defense Department, meanwhile, is addressing its own potential weather data gap with the development of the Weather System Follow-on — Microwave spacecraft. The Air Force awarded a contract to Ball Aerospace for that satellite for a 2022 launch.
  4. ^ "USAF Weather Satellite Program in Disarray". 23 February 2017. Retrieved 13 December 2017.