run by the department of defense

The Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) is run by the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC).
Image provided by: DMSP Homepage

The DMSP program designs, builds, launches, and maintains several near polar orbiting, sun synchronous satellites monitoring the meteorological, oceanographic, and solar-terrestrial physics environments.

DMSP satellites are in a near polar, sun synchronous orbit approximately 830 kilometers above the earth. Each satellite crosses any point on the earth twice a day and has an orbital period of about 101 minutes, thus providing complete global coverage every six hours. Each DMSP satellite monitors the atmospheric, oceanographic and solar-geophysical environment of the Earth.

Image provided by: DMSP Homepage

These satellites have capabilities to zoom in close to atmospheric phenomena (like hurricanes). Other capabilities of DMSP satellites include the detection of: lightning, biomass burning, aurora, snow, ice and even city lights.

Image provided by: DMSP Homepage

The image above reveals where the lights are in the US when the sun goes down. The data from the DMSP satellites are received and used at operational centers on a continual basis. The data are sent daily to the National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) and Solar Terrestrial Physics Division (STPD) for creation of an archive.

Text Provided By: DMSP at NGDC

Terms for using data resources. CD-ROM available.
Credits and Acknowledgments for WW2010.
Department of Atmospheric Sciences (DAS) at
the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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