DMSP 19 Satellite to Assist NOAA Weather Models

DMSP_Block-5D2

Rendering of a DMSP satellite of Block 5D2. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

[Via Satellite 04-09-2014] The United States Air Force’s latest Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) spacecraft, launched on April 3 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, is currently undergoing a series of on-orbit system tests. Operational use is expected in approximately six weeks. The DMSP 19 satellite is tasked with producing more data for National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather models that are expected to create more accurate severe weather predictions.

The Air Force DMSP’s low Earth-orbiting (LEO) satellites have provided environmental data since the mid-1960s, and the last spacecraft was launched in 2009. Each satellite has a 101-minute orbit and circles between the North and South poles.

DMSP satellites provide images of cloud cover, bodies of water, snow, fire and pollution in both visual and infrared ranges. This information is collected, downlinked to ground stations, and interpreted by meteorologists to assist in planning and directing global U.S. military operations.

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