U.S. Space Force Repurposes Old Weather Satellite

At the end of 2023, the US Space Force plans to repurpose NOAA’s GOES-15 spacecraft in order to provide coverage over the Indian ocean to support military operations in the area. GOES-15, in the future referred to as EWSG-2 was a last generation weather satellite launched in 2011 in support of monitoring weather above the continental USA. The main objective of EWSG-2 will still be to monitor weather but rather as a military asset instead of a civilian asset. GOES-15 follows the trend of GOES-13 (EWSG-1) which was first commissioned in 2020 but has now reached the end of its life according to fuel estimates. EWSG-2 will still be maintained and operated out of NOAA’s SOC in Maryland.

The Space Force is investigating long term solutions to monitor weather in the Indian Ocean, but it seems that this solution is not expected until at least 2030. This begs the question of security. The space force is converting a spacecraft of NOAA, an agency within the department of commerce, to a spacecraft supporting military operations even if that support is just monitoring weather. GOES certainly provides invaluable information in tracking storms and fires that protects the public with help from the National Weather Service. Its cybersecurity, however, may be an afterthought. The question is, what does the military do in these situations to protect it from foreign adversaries? Especially when a target may seem potentially easy compared to more secure military spacecrafts. The answer as of right now does not seem so clear and may be a cause of concern going forward with the military working closely with commercial and civilian spacecrafts.

Source: https://spacenews.com/space-force-gets-another-weather-satellite-from-noaa/