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Posted September 29, 2011
The monograph "A History of The Military Polar Orbiting Meteorological Satellite Program," by R. Cargill Hall is a watershed document created by the elusive National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)'s History Office. For decades, the Defense Meteorological Support Program, or DMSP, has been pumping weather data to U.S. military forces in preparation for operations. Now the "true" history of DMSP can finally be told.
After DMSP's "black" origins were declassified in the early 2000s, NRO Historian Hall wrote an amazing story on the satellite, starting with its humble beginnings supporting the CORONA photoreconnaissance program. Tracing the development of Blocks 1 thru 5, Hall creates a living tale that unabashedly tries to let folks know "where we've been" in regards to joint civil/military weather satellites. The failure of DMSP to stay military, and become NPOESS, was talked about briefly - however the irony of this monograph and its lessons learned, is the "death" of NPOESS and the revitalization of a military weather satellite and a separate civil satellite ("Joint Polar Satellite System").
I took off one star due to the Kindle translation - the NRO monograph had lots of nice photos, which the Kindle edition did not have. I expect those photos to be included in the next ebook update. The PDFs can be downloaded for free from NRO, but lack the "text-recognition" feature. So the Kindle book will work, since "the text is where the story's at." Definitely worth the $0.99 cost.
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