General Atomics said on Nov. 29 that the U.S. Space Force has chosen to make the General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems’ (GA-EMS) design for the service’s Electro-Optical Infrared Weather System (EWS) satellite a three to five-year prototype effort–an expansion of a one-year on-orbit demonstration.

The spacecraft “has been up-scoped from a one year on orbit sensor demonstration to a three-to-five-year prototype spacecraft with residual operational capability,” GA-EMS said.

In June, 2020, Space Force awarded $309 million to Raytheon Technologies [RTX]; a GA-EMS team; and an Atmospheric & Space Technology Research Asssociates (ASTRA) team for EWS under the Space Enterprise Consortium.

Space Force is to select a winning design or designs next year.

“If GA-EMS is chosen to move into the next phase, the GA-EMS EWS spacecraft will have the capability to provide the Department of Defense (DoD) with operational weather data support as a precursor to an innovative future weather capability,” GA-EMS said on Nov. 29.

EWS is to replace four Lockheed Martin‘s [LMT] Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellites. DMSP launches began in 1962, and the satellites are expected to be retired by 2025 when EWS is to come online.

Like DMSP, the EWS constellation is to provide global terrestrial cloud forecasting and theater weather imagery data to military forces.