America's current combined fleet of civilian and military weather monitoring satellites are quickly nearing the end of their operational life spans. It's a big deal; these satellites provide accurate weather reports for a lot of major government agencies including NASA, NOAA, and the Department of Defense (not to mention our allies). But while the DoD scrambles to replace its aging Defense Meteorological Satellite Program and the Europeans are launching their own HD weather stations, NASA and the NOAA are working together to launch the next generation of environmental satellites.
Dubbed the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS), these two (technically three) satellites will provide the global environmental data that meteorologists around the world rely on to make their predictions—both for the five day forecast and for tornado/hurricane warnings—the as well as heaps of scientific climate data.
The JPSS program began in February of 2010 at the behest of the White House after the cancellation of the existing National Polar-orbiting Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) program. The new satellites are being built by a consortium of four defense contractors: Ball Aerospace, Raytheon, ITT and Northrop Grumman.