“We are the Weather Station for the Nation and the World, help us keep it that way!”
I'm Neil Lonie, the Station Manager for the Dundee Satellite Receiving Station (DSRS), which has downloaded and stored images of the Earth from space for 50 years. Built in the days of the “Space Race” by keen students and faculty members, the DSRS was one of the UK’s longest-running and most successful space missions. Building on a heritage laid down by Sir Watson-Watt, the father of RADAR, himself a Univ. of Dundee graduate, DSRS has provided freely accessible imagery over its lifespan and last year over 7 million images were downloaded for free.
The DSRS was the only satellite receiving station of its kind operating in the UK. Over the years the station captured many iconic images from space including the Fastnet yacht race storm of 1979, the Buncefield oil depot fire in 2005, volcanic eruptions in Iceland and at Mount Etna, hurricanes, tropical cyclones, wild fires and the severe winter conditions of 2010-11, which provided such stunning images of snow-covered UK and Ireland. DSRS data supported the work of hundreds of scientists and operational services around the world, including those monitoring weather patterns and how these are being affected by climate change. Moreover, a vast number of public users benefit from the facilities including teachers, students and individuals with an interest in weather, while information from our data is used to support agriculture and fisheries in poorer parts of the world. Pilots, sailors, hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts also used the imagery of the DSRS to help them plan and safely enjoy their pursuits – the DSRS always said, “Weather affects everyone, our data is free, but we need help to keep it that way!”
The University students and faculty funded the station from its inception in the late 1960’s Space Race, and its momentous Apollo 11 Moon Landing, until 1978. From 1978 to date, the DSRS received public funding to provide this invaluable service. However, on 1st April 2019, this funding was stopped and there was no plan for an equivalent service. We are now seeking alternative financial backing to not only continue the operations, but to launch the next weather-climate “mission”. We see this as an opportunity to "reboot" the Station and engage yet more with the public, while we continue to support the efforts of climate change scientists in the UK and worldwide. We are now seeking and initial target funding of £65,00 to:
1. To become independent of the Univ. of Dundee and operate as a limited company, now to be known as "Dundee Satellite Station Ltd", while maintaining fully operations with key staff. DSS Ltd. will engage in commercial operations while also maintaining, where possible, public environmental data.
2. We will continue satellite data collection operations using the experienced staff to extend the 40+ year unbroken record of environmental data.
3. We will upgrade, or purchase new infrastructure and extend capability to acquire data from new and more sophisticated satellites, thus launching the DSRS onto its next mission as the Dundee Satellite Station Ltd.
4. We will create a new website and enhance public ease of access and use, strengthen the our international educational and outreach focus, and become mobile-friendly with equivalent facilities available “on the move” to make our data even more accessible to our "fan base.
5. Guarantee the existence of a civilian facility that has a philosophy of free information, if at all possible, for everyone around the world when it comes to weather, while we use our spare capacity to generate income from commercial satellite clients.
6. All funds raised will be specifically for the DSS Ltd. operating fund and used to pay for the objectives listed above.
7. Any funds raised will be withdrawn and presented to an account maintained by Dr. Gary McKay for The Friends of the Dundee Satellite Station Ltd. (not affiliated with the Univ of Dundee).
8. We support the British Interplanetary Society and Dr. Robert "Buzz" Aldrin's "Human Spaceflight Institute."
Feature article from “Spaceflight” magazine, Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, June 2019http://www.sat.dundee.ac.uk/Spaceflight%20vol.61%20no.6%202019-06%20pages%2002-05%20190422rev02.pdfhttp://www.sat.dundee.ac.uk/Spaceflight%20vol.61%20no.6%202019-06%20cover%200001%20140924.pdf
What's the official theme song of the DSS? "Love Train" by the The O'Jays: https://youtu.be/I_bB-kjGAhc