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Satnews Daily
May 18th, 2017

Air Force SMC Names Awards to Analyze Cloud Detection

The Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center announced their four study contracts worth approximately $500,000 each to EO Vista, Millennium Space Systems, Orbital ATK, and Raytheon Company - Space and Airborne Systems to provide concept reports to address space-based cloud characterization and theater weather imagery solutions by the end of fiscal year 2019. 

The Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) is the longest running production satellite program ever. In 50 years of service, DMSP satellites have saved billions of dollars and countless human lives as a result of timely weather forecasts.

Currently, the Air Force relies on the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) and other programs to provide cloud characterization, whereby satellites analyze cloud detection, cover and temperature, and, theater weather imagery, whereby satellites record visible satellite images of atmospheric conditions. Together, these missions are referred to as Space Based Environmental Monitoring (SBEM) Electro Optical Infrared (EO/IR) capabilities. The SBEM EO/IR mission has been performed by the DMSP satellite constellation for over 50 years and the Air Force is exploring new long-term solutions to continue this mission. 

Dr. Stephen Pluntze, deputy director of SMC's Remote Sensing Systems Directorate shared that the weather mission is of critical importance to national security. They made it a point to reach out to small business, academia, research institutions, and established industry partners to drive innovative solutions while remaining focused on cost savings. These four study contract awards will put the Air Force on a path to ensure long term tactical and strategic weather mission areas are addressed while providing significant value to the government and the taxpayer. 

The four studies will lay out how each contractor's proposed solution will address future cloud characterization and theater weather imagery solutions. Once completed, the Air Force will review each concept for viability and consider them to inform potential follow-on programs. 

SMC's Remote Sensing Systems Directorate provides global, persistent, infrared surveillance and environmental monitoring capabilities to warfighters and the nation. EO Vista is headquartered in Acton, Massachusetts. Millennium Space Systems is headquartered in El Segundo, California. Orbital ATK is headquartered in Dulles, Virginia. Raytheon Company, Space and Airborne Systems is headquartered in El Segundo, California. 

SMC, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, California, is the US Air Force's center for acquiring and developing military space systems. Its portfolio includes the Global Positioning System, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control networks, space based infrared systems and space situational awareness capabilities.