The U.S. Space Force has declared Initial Operational Capability of the Electro-optical Infrared Weather System Geostationary spacecraft.
EWS-G1, formerly known as GOES-13, was transferred to the U.S. Air Force by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2019 under an agreement between the U.S. Air Force and NOAA for Interagency Cooperation on Collection of Space-Based Environmental Monitoring Data.
Originally launched in 2006, GOES-13 provided operational weather coverage over the United States East Coast for 10 years before being replaced in the GOES-East position by GOES-16. EWS-G1 is the first Department of Defense owned geostationary weather satellite. 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.
The transfer and relocation of EWS-G1 is the culmination of joint efforts between the USSF’s Space and Missile Systems Center, NOAA and National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
“EWS-G1 is a prime example of innovation and the leveraging of partnerships. SMC partnered with NOAA and NASA to deliver critically needed Geostationary visible and infrared cloud characterization and theater weather imagery in the Indian Ocean region. This effort demonstrates speed by allowing the spacecraft to be moved and operated in 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 maneuver, NOAA and the U.S. Space Force completed a thorough checkout of the EWS-G1 spacecraft and sensors. All criteria were met to declare the system operational and 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, Md., and Wallops Command and Data Acquisition Station in Virginia.