The American military procurement system faces a number of challenges at the moment, and the news isn’t very good on many fronts. There are success stories in the field – some larger, some smaller. but every one the product of dedication and planning by the workers, firms, and government officials involved. This article highlights 2 recent “good news” items:
DMSP: Built Better. The DMSP constellation has been collecting weather data for U.S. military operations for almost 40 years, and 2 operational satellites are in a 101 minute, sun-synchronous near-polar orbit at all times. The primary weather sensor on DMSP is the Operational Linescan System, which provides continuous visual and infrared imagery of cloud cover over an area 1,600 nautical miles wide. Additional satellite sensors based on microwaves, infrared, sounders, et. al. measure atmospheric vertical profiles of moisture and temperature, detect developing patterns of weather and track existing weather systems over remote areas – including severe thunderstorms, hurricanes, and typhoons. They also measure local charged particles and electromagnetic fields to assess the impact of the ionosphere on ballistic-missile early warning radar systems and long-range communications, monitor global auroral activity, and predict the effects of “space weather” on satellite operations.