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DMSP 5D-3/F16



DMSP F16 (USA 172) was launched by a Titan 2 rocket from Vandenberg AFB at 16:17 UT on 18 October 2003. The Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) is a Department of Defense (DoD) program run by the Air Force Space and Missle Systems Center (SMC). The program 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 3000 km 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 (SSMI) and sounders (SSMT1, SSMT2) 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 (SSJ, SSM, SSIES) record along-track plasma densities, velocities, composition and drifts (SS stands for Special Sensor).

DMSP F16 carries two new experiments: the limb scanning ultraviolet imager/spectrometer SSULI built by the Naval Research Laboratory and the nadir scanning ultaviolet imager/spectrometer and photometer SSUSI built by the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University. It also carried new versions of the Special Sensor for Ions, Electrons and Scintillations (SSIES-13) and of the precipitating ion and electron monitor (SSJ-5)

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 (NGDC/STP) by the Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA) for creation of an archive.

Alternate Names

  • 28054
  • DMSP-F16
  • DMSP5D-3/F16
  • USA 172

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2003-10-18
Launch Vehicle: Titan II
Launch Site: Vandenberg AFB, United States

Funding Agency

  • Unknown (United States)


  • Surveillance and Other Military
  • Space Physics
  • Earth Science

Additional Information

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



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail

Other Sources of DMSP Data/Information

DMSP data (National Geophysical Data Center)

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