Weather System Follow-on Microwave


Weather System Follow-on Microwave-1
Mission typeSpace weather
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerBall Aerospace & Technologies
Start of mission
Launch date2023 (planned)
Launch siteCCSFS
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Microwave imaging radiometer
Weather System Follow-on Microwave program
← DMSP-19
WSF-M2 →

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 2023.[3][4]

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 continued the development of a weather satellite under the Defense Weather Satellite System (DWSS) program based on NPOESS. However, when that system faced delays and funding issues, the White House cancelled it and instituted the WSF program.[5]

WSF-M is designed to mitigate three high priority U.S. 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". Satellite Today. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  2. ^ Werner, Debra (6 March 2019). "Are small satellites the solution for space weather monitoring?". SpaceNews. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  3. ^ Bourassa, M.A.; et al. (23 August 2019). "Remotely Sensed Winds and Wind Stresses for Marine Forecasting and Ocean Modeling". Frontiers in Marine Science. 6: 443. doi:10.3389/fmars.2019.00443. Retrieved 3 January 2020. The first of two planned sensors will launch in 2023.
  4. ^ Foust, Jeff (8 March 2019). "GAO takes weather satellite program off watch list". SpaceNews. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  5. ^ "USAF Weather Satellite Program in Disarray". 23 February 2017. Retrieved 13 December 2017.