Defense Meteorological Satellite Program

Project Description
The Defense Meteorological Satellite Program(DMSP) is a Department of
Defense(DoD) program run by the Air Force Space and Missile Systems
Center(SMC). The DMSP program designs, builds, launches, and maintains
several near polar orbiting, sun synchronous satellites monitoring the
meteorological, oceanographic, and solar-terrestrial physics
environments.

DMSP satellites are in a near polar orbiting, sun synchronous orbit at
an altitude of approximately 830 Km above the earth. Each satellite
crosses any point on the earth up to two times a day and has an
orbital period of about 101 minutes thus providing nearly complete
global coverage of clouds every six hours.

Each DMSP satellite monitors the atmospheric, oceanographic and
solar-geophysical environment of the Earth. The visible and infrared
sensors collect images of global cloud distribution across a 3,000 km
swath during both daytime and nighttime conditions. The coverage of
the microwave imager and sounders are one-half the visible and
infrared sensors coverage, thus they cover the polar regions above 60
degrees on a twice daily basis but the equatorial region on a daily
basis. The space environmental sensors record along track plasma
densities, velocities, composition and drifts.

For more information, link to http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/dmsp/dmsp.html