In 2017, the U.S. Air Force had revealed that it was in discussions with the NOAA over the possibility of taking over one of the agency’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES).
FREMONT, CA: The U.S. Space Force announced the reprogramming of a geostationary weather satellite, previously owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to the military for coverage over the Indian Ocean. The NOAA satellite was first launched in 2006 and retired in 2018. The satellite has been now reprogrammed as the Electro-Optical Infrared Weather System – Geostationary, or EWS-G1. Schriever Garrison, the Space Delta 2 at Peterson, Colorado, declared the satellite operational on September 1st. The NOAA is currently operating EWS-G1 for the military, collecting weather imagery over the Indian Ocean region in support of U.S. Central Command.
“EWS-G1 is the first Department of Defense owned geostationary weather satellite,” stated the Space Force Space and Missile Systems Center in a news release. “The satellite provides timely cloud characterization and theater weather imagery to DoD in the Indian Ocean region, addressing needs across Central Command and other operating theaters.” In 2017, the U.S. Air Force had revealed that it was in discussions with the NOAA over the possibility of taking over one of the agency’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES).
For many years, the U.S. Air Force has relied on an ageing European weather satellite to provide coverage over the Indian Ocean and in 2019 worked out an agreement to take over GOES-13 from NOAA. In 2018, the NOAA decommissioned the GOES-13 and replaced with it with a new spacecraft GOES-16. For over a decade, the GOES-13 was a crucial source of information during significant U.S. weather events like Hurricane Sandy in 2012. GOES-13 was launched in 2006 aboard a Boeing Delta 4 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
“NOAA’s spacecraft was moved to the Indian Ocean region far earlier than a new satellite could be produced and fielded,” said Charlotte Gerhart, SMC’s Production Corps Low Earth Orbit Division chief. “The repurposing of GOES-13, and residual NOAA ground equipment, accomplished the mission at a fraction of the procurement cost of a brand new system.” After the relocation of the satellite, the NOAA and the U.S. Space Force completed a checkout of the EWS-G1 spacecraft and sensors. EWS-G1 is now providing weather data to DoD forecasters. NOAA will continue to operate EWS-G1 on behalf of the U.S. Space Force for its remaining life span from the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Maryland, and Wallops Command and Data Acquisition Station in Virginia.
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