Encyclopedia Astronautica
DMSP Block 5D-2


American earth weather satellite. 9 launches, 1982.12.21 (AMS 5) to 1997.04.04 (USA 131). DMSP 5D-2 was the military's sixth generation of weather satellites.

The DMSP 5D-2 satellites operated in two-satellite constellations to provide world-wide meteorological, oceanographic and solar-terrestrial physics measurements on a twice-daily basis. The visible and infrared sensors collected images of global cloud distribution across a 3,000 km swath during both daytime and night time conditions.

The coverage of the microwave imager and sounders were one-half the visible and infrared sensors coverage, covering the polar regions above 60 deg on a twice-daily basis, but the equatorial region on a daily basis. The space environmental sensors recorded along-track plasma densities, velocities, composition and drifts. The spacecraft was based on the GE Tiros bus and 3-axis stabilized using reaction wheels and torque rods to within 0.01 deg. The hydrazine propulsion system was used for orbit insertion, a nitrogen propulsion system for stationkeeping. Star sensors and gyros provided 0.01 deg. knowledge. An Earth sensor and sun were sensor carried as backups. Data was stored on a tape recorder. The solar array generated 900 W (BOL) and recharged NiCd batteries with 30 AHr capacity. S-band communications were via 5 W RF, 5 MHz bandwidth, omni antennas. The satellites were controlled from Offutt AFB, Nebraska with terminals at Loring AFB, Maine; Fairchild AFB, Washington; and AFRTS Hawaii. The payload mass of 110 kg, included:

  • Operational Linescan System (OLS) - visible/infrared imager
  • SSM/T - atmospheric sounder producing cloud temperature profiles
  • SSM/I - microwave imager measuring ice coverage, precipitation areas and intensities, cloud water content, ocean surface wind speeds
  • SSB/X2 - gamma and x-ray spectrometer
  • SSJ/4 - measured proton and electron densities
  • SSM - magnetometer.

The R&D cost for DMSP 5D-2 was $ 7.6 million. The first joined 5 earlier generation DMSP's still operating in orbit. Launch of 8 more continued through 1997.

AKA: Defense Meteorological Satellite Program.
Gross mass: 770 kg (1,690 lb).
Height: 3.40 m (11.10 ft).
First Launch: 1982.12.21.
Last Launch: 1997.04.04.
Number: 9 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Atlas The Atlas rocket, originally developed as America's first ICBM, was the basis for most early American space exploration and was that country's most successful medium-lift commercial launch vehicle. It launched America's first astronaut into orbit; the first generations of spy satellites; the first lunar orbiters and landers; the first probes to Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn; and was America's most successful commercial launcher of communications satellites. Its innovative stage-and-a-half and 'balloon tank' design provided the best dry-mass fraction of any launch vehicle ever built. It was retired in 2004 after 576 launches in a 47-year career. More...
  • Titan The Titan launch vehicle family was developed by the United States Air Force to meet its medium lift requirements in the 1960's. The designs finally put into production were derived from the Titan II ICBM. Titan outlived the competing NASA Saturn I launch vehicle and the Space Shuttle for military launches. It was finally replaced by the USAF's EELV boosters, the Atlas V and Delta IV. Although conceived as a low-cost, quick-reaction system, Titan was not successful as a commercial launch vehicle. Air Force requirements growth over the years drove its costs up - the Ariane using similar technology provided lower-cost access to space. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Atlas The Atlas rocket, originally developed as America's first ICBM, was the basis for most early American space exploration and was that country's most successful medium-lift commercial launch vehicle. It launched America's first astronaut into orbit; the first generations of spy satellites; the first lunar orbiters and landers; the first probes to Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn; and was America's most successful commercial launcher of communications satellites. Its innovative stage-and-a-half and 'balloon tank' design provided the best dry-mass fraction of any launch vehicle ever built. It was retired in 2004 after 576 launches in a 47-year career. More...
  • Titan American orbital launch vehicle. The Titan launch vehicle family was developed by the United States Air Force to meet its medium lift requirements in the 1960's. The designs finally put into production were derived from the Titan II ICBM. Titan outlived the competing NASA Saturn I launch vehicle and the Space Shuttle for military launches. It was finally replaced by the USAF's EELV boosters, the Atlas V and Delta IV. Although conceived as a low-cost, quick-reaction system, Titan was not successful as a commercial launch vehicle. Air Force requirements growth over the years drove its costs up - the Ariane using similar technology provided lower-cost access to space. More...
  • Atlas E American intercontinental ballistic missile. Initial fully operational version of Atlas ICBM. Differed in guidance system from Atlas F. Deployed as missiles from 1960 to 1966. After retirement, the ICBM's were refurbished and used over twenty years as space launch vehicles. More...
  • Titan 2 American intercontinental ballistic missile. ICBM, developed also as the launch vehicle for the manned Gemini spacecraft in the early 1960's. When the ICBM's were retired in the 1980's they were refurbished and a new series of launches began. More...
  • Titan 2G American intercontinental ballistic orbital launch vehicle. Space launch version, obtained through minimal refurbishment of decommissioned ICBM's. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USAF American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. United States Air Force, USA. More...
  • NOAA American agency overseeing development of spacecraft. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • DMSP The first CORONA photos in August 1960 convinced authorities that knowledge of cloud cover over Russia was necessary and could be obtained only via satellite. Since the civilian TIROS program could not yet meet the requirement, the Director, National Reconnaissance Office authorized an 'interim' effort - the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. The satellite series continued to be updated and served into the 21st Century. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Report (Internet Newsletter), Harvard University, Weekly, 1989 to Present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Lockheed Martin Coporation, Atlas Family Fact Sheets, September 1998.. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Vandenberg Vandenberg Air Force Base is located on the Central Coast of California about 240 km northwest of Los Angeles. It is used for launches of unmanned government and commercial satellites into polar orbit and intercontinental ballistic missile test launches toward the Kwajalein Atoll. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC3W Delta, Atlas launch complex. First designated LC1-1 and used to launch Atlas Agena B with Samos payloads. After Samos cancellation, rebuilt in 1963 to support launch of KH-4 Corona spysats atop Thor-Agena. Refurbished in 1973 to accomodate surplus Atlas ICBM's in space launch role. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC4W Titan, Atlas launch complex. First designated PALC2-3 and used to launch Atlas Agena D with KH-7 spysats. Rebuilt in 1966 to handle Titan 3B with various military payloads. From 1988 used to launch refurbished surplus Titan 2 ICBM's in space launch role. More...

DMSP Block 5D-2 Chronology


1982 December 21 - . 02:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 60E / Star-37S-ISS.
  • AMS 5 - . Payload: DMSP S-6 / OPS 9845. Mass: 750 kg (1,650 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: DMSP. Class: Earth. Type: Weather satellite. Spacecraft: DMSP Block 5D-2. USAF Sat Cat: 13736 . COSPAR: 1982-118A. Apogee: 810 km (500 mi). Perigee: 797 km (495 mi). Inclination: 98.6000 deg. Period: 100.90 min. Summary: Defense Meteorological Satellite Program..

1983 November 18 - . 06:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 58E / Star-37S-ISS.
  • DMSP-Block-5B5D2-2 - . Payload: DMSP S-7 / OPS 1294. Mass: 750 kg (1,650 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: DMSP. Class: Earth. Type: Weather satellite. Spacecraft: DMSP Block 5D-2. USAF Sat Cat: 14506 . COSPAR: 1983-113A. Apogee: 818 km (508 mi). Perigee: 801 km (497 mi). Inclination: 98.4000 deg. Period: 101.10 min. Summary: Defense Meteorological Satellite Program..

1987 June 20 - . 02:34 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 59E / Star-37S-ISS.
  • USA 26 - . Payload: DMSP S-9/Star 37S S/N 15019. Mass: 750 kg (1,650 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: DMSP. Class: Earth. Type: Weather satellite. Spacecraft: DMSP Block 5D-2. USAF Sat Cat: 18123 . COSPAR: 1987-053A. Apogee: 848 km (526 mi). Perigee: 828 km (514 mi). Inclination: 98.8000 deg. Period: 101.70 min. Summary: Defense Meteorological Satellite Program..

1988 February 3 - . 05:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 54E / Star-37S-ISS.
  • USA 29 - . Payload: DMSP S-8/Star 37S S/N 15021. Mass: 750 kg (1,650 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: DMSP. Class: Earth. Type: Weather satellite. Spacecraft: DMSP Block 5D-2. USAF Sat Cat: 18822 . COSPAR: 1988-006A. Apogee: 817 km (507 mi). Perigee: 807 km (501 mi). Inclination: 98.5000 deg. Period: 101.10 min. Summary: Defense Meteorological Satellite Program..

1990 December 1 - . 15:57 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 61E / Star-37S-ISS. FAILURE: Failure of the spacecraft's TEM-364-15 AKM nozzle due to a manufacturing defect led to the satellite being placed into lower than planned orbit.. Failed Stage: P.
  • USA 68 - . Payload: DMSP S-10. Mass: 750 kg (1,650 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: DMSP. Class: Earth. Type: Weather satellite. Spacecraft: DMSP Block 5D-2. USAF Sat Cat: 20978 . COSPAR: 1990-105A. Apogee: 837 km (520 mi). Perigee: 724 km (449 mi). Inclination: 98.7000 deg. Period: 100.50 min. Summary: Defense Meteorological Satellite Program; broken nozzle prevented satellite from reaching desired orbit..

1991 November 28 - . 13:23 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 53E / Star-37S-ISS.
  • USA 73 - . Payload: DMSP S-12/Star 37S S/N 15029. Mass: 830 kg (1,820 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: DMSP. Class: Earth. Type: Weather satellite. Spacecraft: DMSP Block 5D-2. USAF Sat Cat: 21798 . COSPAR: 1991-082A. Apogee: 852 km (529 mi). Perigee: 835 km (518 mi). Inclination: 99.0000 deg. Period: 101.80 min. Summary: Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. 500th Atlas launch..

1994 August 29 - . 17:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 20E / Star-37S-ISS.
  • USA 106 - . Payload: DMSP 23545/Star 37S S/N 15030 / DMSP 5D-1 F12. Mass: 830 kg (1,820 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: DMSP. Class: Earth. Type: Weather satellite. Spacecraft: DMSP Block 5D-2. USAF Sat Cat: 23233 . COSPAR: 1994-057A. Apogee: 860 km (530 mi). Perigee: 840 km (520 mi). Inclination: 98.8900 deg. Period: 101.94 min. Summary: Defense Meteorological Satellite Program..

1995 March 24 - . 14:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 45E / Star-37S-ISS.
  • USA 109 - . Payload: DMSP 24547/Star 37S / DMSP F13. Mass: 750 kg (1,650 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: DMSP. Class: Earth. Type: Weather satellite. Spacecraft: DMSP Block 5D-2. USAF Sat Cat: 23533 . COSPAR: 1995-015A. Apogee: 854 km (530 mi). Perigee: 845 km (525 mi). Inclination: 98.8000 deg. Period: 101.90 min. Summary: Last successful Atlas E space launch..

1997 April 4 - . 16:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4W. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 2G. LV Configuration: Titan II SLV 23G-6 / M68B-106 / 66-4317.
  • USA 131 - . Payload: DMSP 5D-2 F-14. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Manufacturer: RCA. Program: DMSP. Class: Earth. Type: Weather satellite. Spacecraft: DMSP Block 5D-2. USAF Sat Cat: 24753 . COSPAR: 1997-012A. Apogee: 855 km (531 mi). Perigee: 842 km (523 mi). Inclination: 98.9000 deg. Period: 101.90 min.

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use