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An Overview of the System

The Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) is a space and ground-based system used for collection and timely dissemination of global environmental data to the DOD and other governmental agencies. This environmental data consists of visible and infrared (IR) cloud cover and other specialized meteorological, oceanographic, and solar-geophysical information required to support worldwide DOD operations.

The DMSP Network

The DMSP Network: the space segment collects data in realtime and transmits it to the shipboard, the MarkIVs, and the RDITs. Stored mission data is downlinked to the ground stations for relay to Air Force Global Weather Central and Fleet Numerical Meteorology Oceanography Center (FNMOC). The C3 Segment provides command and control of the DMSP spacecraft.

DMSP is composed of the Space Segment; the Command, Control, and Communications Segment (C3S); and the User Segment. The principal function of the Space Segment is to continually acquire environmental data through its satellite sensors. This data is stored onboard the satellite for delayed transmission to the C3S. Subsequently, the data is relayed to strategic elements of the User Segment for processing and analysis. Realtime environmental data can also be transmitted directly from the Space Segment to tactical elements of the User Segment.

The C3S consists of the DMSP Multi-Purpose Satellite Operations Center (MPSOC) and the Fairchild Satellite Operations Center (FSOC), which are dedicated DMSP sites belonging to the Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN). The C3S is augmented with AFSCN Remote Tracking Stations (RTSs) for launch, early orbit, and certain other orbital passes. The C3S conducts all mission planning, generates realtime and stored program commands, provides computer memory uploads to the Space Segment, and handles telemetry acquisition, processing, and postpass analyses.

The User Segment consists of Air Force Global Weather Central (AFGWC), the Navy Fleet Numerical Meteorology Oceanography Center (FNMOC), and the Tactical Terminals (Mark IV Series Transportable Terminals, AN/SMQ-11 Shipboard Receiving Terminals, and RDITs). The Tactical Terminals receive DMSP mission data in realtime.

AFGWC, located at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska, is the primary strategic user and distributor of DMSP satellite data destined for the Air Force and Army. FNMOC, located at Monterey, California, distributes DMSP data to the Navy and Marine Corps. Although neither AFGWC nor FNOC are DMSP agencies, both receive and process DMSP data in combination with meteorological, solar-geophysical, and oceanographic observations from other sources. They disseminate such environmental information in various forms to the DOD and other governmental agencies, as required.

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Designed and Developed by

The Aerospace Corp.

John Bohlson, Leonard Daly, and Charles Simmons
The Aerospace Corporation
Last modified on July 03, 1997

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DMSP WebMaster - James Dixon