Ball Aerospace to Build Ion Velocity Meters for US Air Force

Ion Velocity Meter

Ion Velocity Meter. Photo: UTD

[Via Satellite 02-13-2014] The Defense Weather System Directorate at the Space and Missile Systems Center in California has awarded a $5.8 million contract to Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation to produce the Ion Velocity Meter (IVM) under the U.S. Air Force Space Situational Awareness Environmental Monitoring program. The IVM will fly aboard the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere 2 (Cosmic 2). Under the contract, Ball Aerospace will build five replicas of the IVM, which was originally designed by the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD).

“The improved sensing capability afforded by the IVM aboard the next-generation Cosmic 2 will contribute to critical long-term data continuity characterizing space plasma,” said Dave Kaufman, vice president and general manager for Ball Aerospace’s National Defense business unit. “IVM measurements are important for assessing the effects of space weather on spacecraft and communications.”

The Cosmic 2 mission, a joint follow-on mission between Taiwan and U.S. agencies, will launch a constellation of six satellites by late 2015. Data from the IVM instruments will be used to characterize the ionosphere that will provide information related to applications involving radio wave propagation.

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