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Defense Meteorological Satellites Program

Defense Meteorological Satellites Program

An artist's conception of the DMSP Block 5-2 satellites

An artist's conception of the DMSP Block 5-2 satellites, which includes DSMP-8, DSMP-9, DSMP-10, DSMP-11, DSMP-12, DSMP-13, and DSMP-14. (Credit: USAF)

An artist's conception of the DMSP Block 5-3 satellites

An artist's conception of the DMSP Block 5-3 satellites, which includes DSMP-15. (Credit: USAF)

The Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, or DMSP for short, was a series of satellites launched by the United States Air Force to monitor meteorological, oceanographic, and solar-terrestrial physics. In particular, the sub-series called Block 5D had several spacecraft which carried gamma-ray detectors.

Lifetime: August 1962 (launch of first Program 35 spacecraft; the original name of the DMSP program was Program 35) - present

Country (primary): United States

Primary Science

The primary objectives of the DMSP program is to provide global visual and infrared cloud cover data and specialized environmental data to support Department of Defense operational weather analysis and forecasting requirements.

High Energy Science

Several of the DMSP Block 5D satellites carried gamma-ray detectors which detected a few cosmic gamma-ray bursts and were used to help triangulate positions for those bursts.

Science Highlights

  • Detected several gamma-ray bursts, data used as part of the Interplanetary Network to localize gamma-ray bursts

Links to more information


Also known as DMSP-F8 or DMSP 5D-2/F08

Lifetime: June 1987 - August 1994


Also known as DMSP-F9 or DMSP 5D-2/F09

Lifetime: February 1988 - April 1992


Also known as DMSP-F10 or DMSP 5D-2/F10

Lifetime: December 1990 - September 1994


Also known as DMSP-F11 or DMSP 5D-2/F11

Lifetime: November 1991 - May 2000 (end of data)


Also known as DMSP-F12 or DMSP 5D-2/F12

Lifetime: August 1994 - July 2002 (end of data)


Also known as DMSP-F13 or DMSP 5D-2/F13

Lifetime: March 1994 - November 2009 (end of data)


Also known as DMSP-F14 or DMSP 5D-2/F14

Lifetime: April 1997 - August 2008 (end of data)


Also known as DMSP-F15 or DMSP 5D-3/F15

Lifetime: December 1999 - Present


A service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA/GSFC

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