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Weathering the Transition: Northrop Grumman has received authorization from the Air Force, along with $428 million in funding, to proceed with work on the Defense Weather Satellite System, the US military's next-generation weather-monitoring satellite. DWSS will leverage the accomplishments of the Northrop-led program to supply the now-cancelled National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System. The Air Force has tasked the company to transition work from the NPOESS contract to the new DWSS program. "We have defined an effective program plan that leverages the high level of maturity achieved on the spacecraft and sensors that are already in production [from NPOESS]," said Linnie Haynesworth, Northrop's DWSS program director, in the company's release Wednesday. DWSS satellites will supplant the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program constellation in providing time-sensitive support of military operations. First launch of a DWSS spacecraft is anticipated in 2018. (See also Tuesday's list of major defense contracts.)