USAF weather satellite still remains silent

USAF weather satellite DMSP-19 stopped to react for commands at 11 February and still remains not operational. 

DMSP satellites are out of luck recently. DMSP-19 (DMSP 5D-3/F19) was launched on 3 April 2014 and was operating on SSO with 857 km × 857 km and inclination at 99° , stopped to operate correctly and is not reacting for commands. It is official statement of U.S. Air Force which was presented to Spacenews.com on 2 March 2016. According to USAF spokesman satellite is on stable orbit and is not any kind of threat for other satellites. To bring situation clearer - this satellite represents most recent generation of spacecrafts operating under Defense Meteorological Satellite Program which was designed in the late eighties to early nineties. It weighs 1200 kg, it is powered two solar arrays and four hydrazine thrusters as propulsion of the satellite. It was made by Lockheed Martin which was prime contractor for whole Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. Now it was replaced with launched in 2006 DMSP-17, which was serving as backup satellite (along with DMSP satellites numbers 14-18), because at least pair of satellites in required for measuring thickness of the clouds. DMSP still works but condition of USAF weather satellites is surely not satisfying for Military mainly because of reaching to end of operational life by most of satellites. Last attempt of making weather satellites constellation more up to date was failed due the cancellation scheduled for 2016 launch of DMSP-20. Now it seems that future of weather forecasting for U.S. Air Force went really bad. After cancelling in 2010 National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS - developed by NASA and NOAA) and strictly military Defense Weather Satellite System (DWSS) in 2012, only one system remains in budget: Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) which still remains without any scheduled date of becoming operational.

It is worth to mention that on 3 February 2015 DMSP-13, which remained in service from 1995, exploded and left on polar SSO up to 100 larger and up to 50000 smaller debris creating real danger for any spacecraft which will be in range.

Sources:

USAF weather woes grow as DMSP-19 stops obeying orders

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