The Boeing [BA] Electro-optical Infrared Weather System Geostationary (EWS-G1) satellite has achieved initial operational capability (IOC) to provide “timely cloud characterization and theater weather imagery to DoD in the Indian Ocean region, addressing needs across Central Command (CENTCOM) and other operating theaters,” the U.S. Space Force’s (USSF) Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) said on Sept. 8.
Last year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) transferred the geostationary orbit satellite, formerly known as GOES-13, to the U.S. Air Force under an agreement between the agencies for the collection of space-based environmental monitoring data.
EWS-G1 is the first DoD owned geostationary weather satellite, per SMC.
Launched in 2006, GOES-13 provided operational weather coverage over the U.S. East Coast for a decade before being replaced in the GOES-East position by GOES-16.
The transfer and relocation of EWS-G1 resulted from a collaboration among SMC, NOAA, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Charlotte Gerhart, SMC’s production corps Low Earth Orbit division chief, said in a statement that EWS-G1 will deliver “critically needed geostationary visible and infrared cloud characterization and theater weather imagery in the Indian Ocean region…far earlier than a new satellite could be produced and fielded” and that the repurposing of GOES-13 and NOAA ground equipment for the satellite “accomplished the mission at a fraction of the procurement cost of a brand new system.”
“After the relocation maneuver, NOAA and the U.S. Space Force completed a thorough checkout of the EWS-G1 spacecraft and sensors,” per SMC. “All criteria were met to declare the system operational and EWS-G1 is now providing weather data to DOD forecasters.”
NOAA is to continue to operate EWS-G1 on behalf of USSF from the NOAA satellite operations facility in Suitland, Md., and Wallops Command and Data Acquisition Station in Virginia.