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  • Satellite Evolution

Space Systems Command launches EWS cubesat technical demonstration

Space Systems Command successfully launched its Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) Weather Systems (EWS) cubesat technical demonstration this morning onboard the SpaceX Transporter-6 mission at 9:56 a.m. (Eastern, 6:56 a.m. Pacific) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida.

This one-year EWS cubesat technical demonstration will prove out emerging space-based EO/IR radiometric imaging technology, using a smaller sensor to provide timely weather imagery data from low Earth orbit (LEO).

“The EWS cubesat technical demonstration effort represents SSC's continued commitment to working with non-traditional partners to broaden the competitive industrial base. If successful, this will provide an innovative option to deliver Space-Based Environmental Monitoring data to the warfighter at an operationally relevant speed,” said Lt Col Joe Maguadog, EWS Materiel Leader and Program Manager. “This demonstration will inform our transition toward a more affordable, scalable, and resilient EO/IR weather constellation.”

In February 2002, the EWS program competitively selected two vendors to develop and launch two separate sensor prototypes. Orion Space Solutions, a non-traditional government contractor, delivered the cubesat for this demonstration. General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Group will deliver the second prototype by 2025.

This launch satisfies the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Congressional mandate to launch a weather EO/IR pathfinder prototype by FY23. The program expects the first transmittal of data early in the new year.

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