The next-generation microwave sounding and imaging instrument would be for the service's Weather Satellite Follow-on program.
"This risk reduction effort will help the Air Force develop an affordable system for space-based environmental sensing," said Tim Harris, vice president and general manager of Ball Aerospace's National Defense business unit. "Ball's experience with other similar systems lays the foundation to address the nation's highest priority defense weather requirements."
The contract from the Air Force's Space and Missile Systems Center calls for Ball Aerospace to investigate how to meet Department of Defense requirements for the device that will fit into smaller and less expensive launch vehicles.
The value of the contract and its timeline for performance was not disclosed.
"This effort shares a heritage with the state-of-the-art Global Precipitation Monitoring Microwave Imager instrument, which Ball Aerospace built and recently delivered to NASA for the Global Precipitation Measurement mission," the company said.