Microwave Satellite

The United States Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center’s Weather System Follow-on – Microwave (WSF-M) program achieved two major milestones despite facing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A conceptional drawing of the Weather System Follow-on – Microwave (WSF-M) satellite (Graphic courtesy of Ball Aerospace)

First, the WSF-M system Critical Design Review completed in April, ensuring that the WSF-M system can meet stated performance requirements within cost, schedule and risk expectations; and is ready to proceed with fabrication, demonstration and test efforts. This multi-disciplined review was successfully conducted while adhering to the current requirements for physical distancing through the extensive use of electronic tools such as web hosted meetings, voice teleconferences and various secure data exchange tools.

Second, after completion of a thorough review of program progress and the supporting statutory and regulatory requirements, Doctor William B. Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology & Logistics, granted Milestone B certification and WSF-M program approval on May 15. The certification formally baselines the program execution requirements, including the establishment of cost and schedule caps, that will govern the program through launch and handover of the capability to operations.

«I am fortunate to have a dedicated team committed to providing capability on time, no matter what the obstacle», said Lieutenant Colonel Wilfredo Ruiz, WSF-M program manager.

These accomplishments demonstrate SMC’s commitment in the face of challenges to rapidly deliver Space-Based Environmental Monitoring capabilities to the warfighter. The WSF-M program is executed by the SMC Production Corps, whose mission is to continue forging the future of space by delivering next generation capabilities to our warfighters and mission partners in front of the need. The Production Corps’ agile program management techniques, smart business approach and close teaming with industry and Department of Defense stakeholders are enabling the production of advanced space-based systems to enhance warfighting weather prediction and analysis capabilities.

WSF-M is the next generation of space based passive microwave sensing technology, and will provide U.S. and Allied warfighters with essential weather data including the measurement of ocean surface wind speed and direction; ice thickness; snow depth; soil moisture; and local spacecraft energetic charged particle environment. The ocean surface wind speed measurement enables tropical cyclone intensity determination by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. The data gathered by WSF-M will be provided to meteorologists in support of the generation of a wide variety of weather products necessary to conduct mission planning and operations globally every day.

The Space and Missile Systems Center is the U.S. Space Force’s center of excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. SMC’s portfolio includes space launch, global positioning, military space vehicle communications, defense meteorological space vehicles, range systems, space vehicle control networks, space-based infrared systems, and space situational awareness capabilities.

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