The Air Force has awarded Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. of Boulder, Colo., a $5.8 million fixed-price contract to build a space weather instrument that would fly aboard a civilian weather satellite, according to a Feb. 12 press release from the company.

Ball will produce five Ion Velocity Meters (IVM), originally designed by the University of Texas at Dallas. The instruments are expected to fly on the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate (COSMIC)-2, a joint mission with Taiwan to take atmospheric temperature and humidity measurements based on how these conditions distort GPS signals. That mission involving six small satellites is partly funded by the U.S. Air Force and scheduled to launch in late 2015, the release said.

The data will be used to learn more about the ionosphere and applications involving radio wave propagation.

“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,” Dave Kaufman, vice president and general manager for Ball Aerospace’s National Defense business unit, said in the release. “IVM measurements are important for assessing the effects of space weather on spacecraft and communications.”