The U.S. Space Force has accepted the transfer of a second geostationary weather satellite from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), extending weather coverage for the Indian Ocean region. This transfer is made possible through the Electro-optical Infrared Weather System-Geostationary (EWS-G) mission, a partnership between the Department of the Air Force and NOAA.
The EWS-G mission allows the Space Force to utilize the residual NOAA Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-15) to collect cloud imagery and perform environmental reconnaissance. This is the second EWS-G satellite to be transferred from NOAA, with the first one referred to as EWS-G1 already in operation since September 2020 and expected to reach its end of service life in February 2024.
With long-term solutions for persistent weather coverage in the Indian Ocean region being explored beyond 2030, the Space Force needed to replace EWS-G1. They approached NOAA to evaluate the possibility of transferring a second residual satellite. The transfer of the satellite demonstrates innovation and partnership leverage, as it allows the Space Force to accomplish their mission at a fraction of the cost of procuring a brand-new system.
The second spacecraft is currently drifting towards the Indian Ocean region and is expected to reach its assigned orbital location in November 2023. It will utilize an existing Remote Ground Station in Western Australia that was established in 2020 to support the EWS-G mission.
The acceptance of the second geostationary weather satellite strengthens the Space Force’s ability to provide weather coverage for the Indian Ocean region, ensuring the collection of crucial data for meteorological analysis and forecasting.