San Diego Business Journal The U.S. military has given a boost to a satellite program from General Atomics.

GA announced on March 7 that the U.S. Space Force Space Systems Command exercised an option on a previously issued contract that will provide the military with a prototype weather satellite. It is part of a satellite program called EWS, short for Electro-Optical Infrared (EO/IR) Weather System.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Space News reported that since 2020, GA has received nearly $200 million in funding from the Space Force for EWS satellite development and for the three-year demonstration.

Massachusetts-based EO Vista is supplying sensors for the satellite, scheduled to go into space in 2024.


Scott Forney President General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Group

“We have been under contract since late 2020 to develop an integrated EWS satellite system design that will provide the USSF with increased capabilities to collect critical global weather imagery and data to support the war fighter,” said Scott Forney, president of General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Group. The announcement, he said, “is testament to our entire team’s dedication to completing a high-fidelity design in a very short time. EWS is more than a demonstrator. The system will provide three to five years of on-orbit operational capabilities to help the USSF fill EO/IR data gaps as the legacy DMSP satellites are retired.”

DMSP refers to the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program.

“This award is a tremendous win for us and comes right on the heels of our successfully completing the Final Design Review milestone,” said Gregg Burgess, vice president of GA-EMS Space Systems. “We now look forward to completing the work already underway to deliver the next generation of on-orbit weather data collection technologies and high-resolution imagery, data products and services to support EWS Program mission requirements. Our goal is to be a USSF mission partner for the long haul, providing capabilities critical to ensuring that reliable and timely weather prediction data is available to support military decision makers worldwide. The team we have assembled is well positioned to manufacture the EWS satellites at the production rates sufficient to meet the USSF weather information refresh requirements.”

Other team members on the project are Massachusetts-based Atmospheric and Environmental Research Inc., which provides weather product expertise, and Virginia-based Parsons Corp. (NYSE:PSN), which provides Enterprise Ground Station command and control and operations support.

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NOTABLE: General Atomics works with a variety of advanced technologies. One example is its work helping scientists determine how to more efficiently harness nuclear fusion as a source of electricity.