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Operators decommission DMSP F-14 after 22 years of service

Members of the 50th Operations Group detachment 1 and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Satellite Operations Facility commemorate the successful decommissioning of Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 14 at the Nation Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Maryland. DMSP-14 had an original design life of three to five years, and far exceeded expectations when it was finally retired after 22 years of service.

Members of the 50th Operations Group Detachment 1 and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Satellite Operations Facility commemorate the successful decommissioning of the DefenseMeteorological Satellite Program Flight 14 at the Nation Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Maryland. DMSP-14 had an original design life of three to five years, and far exceeded expectations when it was retired after 22 years of service.

SUITLAND, Md. --

Operators conducted end of life operations on the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 14 Feb. 11 following the satellite’s more than 22 years of service providing global weather data.

DMSP F-14 was launched April 4, 1997 however it was decommissioned after the majority of its instruments became non-operational.

“I would like to thank my team and the DMSP community for keeping this asset viable long past its initial service date," said Maj. Ronald Davies, 50th Operations Group Detachment 1 commander.

The satellite more than quadrupled its original design life of five years, providing full orbit weather imagery to the 557th Weather Wing, Offutt AFB, Nebraska., and the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center, Monterey, California.

There is no impact to the strategic weather mission, and the DMSP constellation remains able to support warfighter requirements through resilient systems and processes.  The remainder of the constellation continues to provide weather and atmospheric data to users as it has for the past five decades. 

“F14 existed far beyond what any of us could have predicted, which is an incredible feat,” said Arla Tillman, NOAA aerospace engineering technician. “Working with F14, year after year provided many challenges as well as rewards for those of us on crew supporting the mission 24/7/365.”

While space-based weather assets were originally launched and operated by the U.S. Air Force, a 1994 presidential directive realigned primary command and control of DMSP under the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  The DMSP constellation is operated by a coalition of mission partners consisting of the NOAA Office of Satellite and Product Operations and the 50th Operations Group Detachment 1, both located in Suitland, Maryland. 

Specifically the 50th Operations Group, Detachment 1, a component of the 50th Operations Group from Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, has Satellite Control Authority and delegates nominal day-to-day operations to the NOAA DMSP operators.  A backup operations center, operated by the Air Force Reserve’s 6th Space Operations Squadron, is located at Schriever AFB, Colorado.

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