WASHINGTON — Harris Corp. of Melbourne, Fla., will study options for the ground system of a next-generation U.S. military weather satellite system under a U.S. Air Force contract announced Feb. 25.

The study will examine ground system options for various satellite architectures, including those that disperse sensors among multiple relatively small platforms, the Air Force said in a press release. That concept is known as disaggregation.

The contract value was not disclosed, but similar contracts from the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, awarded under a June broad agency announcement for a follow-on military weather satellite system, have ranged from $6 million to $12 million.

The Air Force plans to request funding for full-scale development of the system, intended to replace the legacy Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellites — of which the service has just two remaining — in 2015.

In January, the Air Force announced that ITT Exelis Geospatial Systems of Fort Wayne, Ind., will study sensor options for the weather satellite system as part of a $12 million contract. According to a Feb. 25 Air Force press release, that study will look at a new senor, the Enhanced Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer, which would provide broad-area environmental data and high-quality cloud imagery.

In December, the Air Force awarded study contracts for the program to ATK Space Systems and the Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory valued at $5.9 million and $9.4 million, respectively.

Mike Gruss is a senior staff writer for SpaceNews. He joined the publication in January 2013 to cover military space. Previously, he worked as a reporter and columnist for The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va. and The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, Ind. He...