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Library > Fact Sheets > Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP)


Posted 2/11/2014 Printable Fact Sheet
Defense Satellite Meteorological Program (DMSP), supported by the 6th Space Operations Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. Image courtesy of Lockheed-Martin for Air Force and media publications; use for commercial purposes is prohibited.
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ยท DMSP has been collecting weather data for U.S. military operations for four decades


o Two operational DMSP satellites are in polar orbits at about 458 nautical miles (nominal) at all times
o The primary weather sensor on DMSP is the Operational Linescan System (OLS) which provides continuous visual and infrared imagery of cloud cover
o Additional satellite sensors measure atmospheric vertical profiles of moisture and temperature
o Military weather forecasters can detect developing patterns of weather and track existing weather systems over remote areas
o The DMSP satellites also measure local charged particles and
o electromagnetic fields to assess the impact of the ionosphere on ballistic missile early warning radar systems and long-range communications


o DMSP is managed by Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.
o The DMSP System Program Office (SPO) is responsible for the integration, test, launch, and sustainment of the remaining DMSP satellites
o In May 1994, the President directed the Departments of Defense and Commerce to converge their separate weather satellite programs
o A tri-agency organization (DOC, DoD, and NASA) was formed and is responsible for developing and fielding a single, national polar-orbiting environmental satellite system to replenish both DMSP and civil weather satellites


o DMSP operations were transferred to the DOC in Suitland, Md., in June 1998
o The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Satellite
o Operations provides the command, control, and communication for both DMSP and Doc's Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites
o As a back-up to NOAA, the Environmental Satellite Operations Center (ESOC) operates out of Schriever AFB, Colo.


DMSP continues to field weather capabilities for the warfighter and civil users. The program continues to deliver operational satellites, sustain current ground terminals, and develop space environmental monitoring sensors. The final DMSP satellite is scheduled to launch in late 2011 with continued operation through 2015.

Current as of February 2014

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