NASA Logo, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive Header

DMSP 5D-1/F03



DMSD 5D-1/F3 was one of a series of meteorological satellites developed and operated by the Air Force under the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP). This program, previously known as DAPP (Data Acquisition and Processing Program), was classified until March 1973. The objectives of this program were to provide global visual and infrared cloudcover data and specialized environmental data to support Department of Defense requirements. Operationally, the program consisted of two satellites in sun-synchronous polar orbits, with the ascending node of one satellite in early morning and the other at local noon. The 5.4-m-long spacecraft was separated into four sections: (1) a precision mounting platform (PMP) for sensors and equipment requiring precise alignment; (2) an equipment support module (ESM) containing the electronics, reaction wheels, and some meteorological sensors; (3) a reaction control equipment (RCE) support structure (including the third-stage motor and hydrazine reaction control system); and (4) a 9.29-sq-m solar cell panel. The spacecraft stabilization was controlled by a combination flywheel and magnetic control coil system so sensors could be maintained in the desired "earth-looking" mode. One feature was the precision-pointing accuracy of the primary imager to 0.01 deg provided by a star sensor and an updated ephemeris navigation system. This allowed automatic geographical mapping of the digital imagery to the nearest picture element. The operational linescan system (OLS), built by Westinghouse, was the primary data acquisition system that provided real-time or stored, multi-orbit, day-and-night visual and infrared imagery of clouds, and provided with the data calibration, timing, and other auxiliary signals to the spacecraft for digital transmission to the ground. A supplementary meterological sensor, the special sensor H (SSH), a step-scanning radiometer, was the infrared temperature-humidity-ozone sounder. Either recorded or real-time data were transmitted to ground-receiving sites by two redundant S-band transmitters. Recorded data were read out to tracking sites located at Fairchild AFB, Wash., and Loring AFB, Maine, and relayed by SATCOM to Air Force Global Weather Central, Offutt AFB, Nebraska. Real-time data were read out at mobile tactical sites located around the world. A more complete description of the satellite can be found in the report, D. A. Nichols, "The Defense Meteorological Satellite Program," Optical Engineering, v. 14, n. 4, July-August 1975.

Alternate Names

  • 10820
  • DMSP 14537
  • DMSP-F3
  • DMSP5D-1-F03
  • DMSP5D1

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1978-05-01
Launch Vehicle: Thor
Launch Site: Vandenberg AFB, United States
Mass: 450 kg

Funding Agency

  • Department of Defense-Department of the Air Force (United States)


  • Space Physics
  • Astronomy
  • Earth Science

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Dr. Dieter K. Bilitza



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Col J. RiversProgram ManagerUS Air Force Space Division

Other Sources of DMSP Data/Information

DMSP F3 summary (NASA MSFC)

[] NASA Logo -