The Air Force announced that it stopped work on the Defense Weather Satellite System in accordance with Congress’ directive that terminated the program in Fiscal 2012. Lawmakers zeroed out funding for the future weather-monitoring satellite in this fiscal year’s defense appropriations and instead instructed the Air Force to continue pursuing weather sensor development and requirements definition that would lead to a new military satellite system that is openly competed. DWSS emerged out of the cancelled tri-agency NPOESS weather satellite program as the planned successor to the Air Force’s legacy Defense Meteorological Satellite Program spacecraft. There are still two more DMSP satellites yet to launch, DMSP-19 and DMSP-20, so Air Force officials maintain that the constellation will continue to provide the US military with “high-quality and timely weather data” into the mid-2020s—presumably while a new system is devised and brought into service. Northrop Grumman was the prime contractor for DWSS; Raytheon was a sensor provider.
Unlike nearly every other innovative technology throughout history, Maj. Gen. DeAnna M. Burt believes the space enterprise emerged backward. “Every other domain started with an entrepreneur who built something,” Burt, the special assistant to the Chief of Space Operations, told an audience at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference.