Science and Technology News

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 19 Launch

Space and Missile Systems Center Public Affairs

4/3/2014 - LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, El Segundo, Calif. -- The U.S. Air Force successfully launched the 19th Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) spacecraft at 7:46 a.m. PDT, April 3, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The satellite was carried aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle.

DMSP is the primary provider of terrestrial and space weather information for the U.S. military. DMSP satellites carry sensors vital to weather prediction and space weather forecasting. DMSP sensors provide visible, infrared, microwave and space weather data to enhance information available to the warfighter. The Air Force, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), works to continually improve the developing science of weather forecasting. DMSP satellites produce global coverage to provide the military with timely, accurate and continuous weather information.

"The launch of DMSP-19 continues the vital weather support to operational commanders for another decade," stated Colonel Scott Larrimore, director of the Space and Missile Systems Center's Defense Weather Systems Directorate. "Congratulations to a great team, which included the 30th Space Wing, ULA, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman."

The Lockheed Martin-built DMSP-19 satellite will orbit the Earth at an altitude of about 847 km, in a near-polar, sun-synchronous orbit. The satellite hosts two primary sensors, the Operational Linescan System (OLS) and the Special Sensor Microwave Imager Sounder (SSMIS), built by Northrop Grumman. The OLS provides visible and infrared cloud data with each scan covering an area 1800 miles wide. The instrument is able to cover the entire Earth in about 12 hours. The SSMIS detects precipitation, surface temperature and soil moisture as well as provides all-weather capability for worldwide tactical operations and is particularly useful in typing and forecasting severe storm activity. The spacecraft also carries a suite of additional sensors, which collect a broad range of meteorological and space environmental data for forecasting and analysis. DMSP-19 will join the DMSP constellation providing world class space-based terrestrial and space weather data to support U.S. Forces and its allies around the globe.

The Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the U.S. Air Force's center of acquisition excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. Its portfolio includes GPS, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control networks, space based infrared systems and space situational awareness capabilities.

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