The Earth Observation Group at NGDC is home to the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Archive.
In addition to maintaining the archive, the EOG performs research on the data as well as creating products.
The DMSP is a
Department of Defense (DoD)
program run by the
Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC).
The DMSP designs, builds, launches, and maintains satellites monitoring the
meteorological, oceanographic, and solar-terrestrial physics environments.
Each DMSP satellite has a 101 minute, sun-synchronous near-polar orbit at an
altitude of 830km above the surface of the earth. The visible and infrared
sensors (OLS) collect images across a 3000km swath, providing global coverage
twice per day. The combination of day/night and dawn/dusk satellites allows
monitoring of global information such as clouds every 6 hours. The microwave
imager (MI) and sounders (T1, T2) cover one half the width of the visible and
infrared swath. These instruments cover polar regions at least twice and the
equatorial region once per day. The space environment sensors (J4, M, IES)
record along-track plasma densities, velocities, composition and drifts.
The data from the DMSP satellites are received and used at operational centers
continuously. The data are sent to the
National Geophysical Data Center's
Solar Terrestrial Physics Division
Earth Observation Group
/EOG) by the
Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA)
for creation of an archive.
Currently, data from 4 satellites (3 day/night, 1 dawn/dusk) are added to the archive each day.