A Defense Meteorological Satellite Program satellite built by Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] has been encapsulated into its payload fairing in preparation for an April 3 liftoff. The launch will take place aboard an Atlas V†rocket from Space Launch Complex 3 East at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
DMSP satellites collect data that enables military forecasters to find, track and forecast weather systems all over the globe, particularly in remote and hostile areas for deployed troops. Additionally, DMSP supports a broad range of civil users with sensing capabilities not provided by U.S. civil and international weather satellite systems.
“Weather guides some of the most important decisions in the armed forces, from flight patterns to troop movements. Through DMSP, we’re helping to provide safer, successful military missions,” said Sue Stretch, DMSP program director at Lockheed Martin. “Our satellite build and test process went flawlessly. As we approach launch, we are ready to continue serving this mission for the military and civil agencies that depend on it.”
DMSP satellites fulfill the country’s most critical requirements for global atmospheric, oceanic, terrestrial and space environment information. DMSP-19 is the fourth Block 5D-3 version to be launched, and Lockheed Martin has produced more than 40 satellites throughout the program’s 50-year history. Many of the satellites are performing beyond their design life, so refreshing on-orbit capability is important for reliable weather information.
DMSP-19 is equipped with a sophisticated sensor suite that can capture visible and infrared cloud cover; measure precipitation, surface temperature and soil moisture; and collect specialized global meteorological, oceanographic and solar-geophysical information in all weather conditions.
The approaching launch is the first in five years for DMSP. The previous one was October 18, 2009, when DMSP-18 joined the constellation. The DMSP program is led by the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., and control is provided by a joint team of the U.S. Air Force and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Suitland, Md. All DMSP satellites were integrated and tested at the Lockheed Martin Space Systems facility in Sunnyvale, Calif.