Military Weather Satellite Launched From California Coast

The rocket blasted off Thursday morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base

By Jonathan Lloyd and Associated Press
|  Thursday, Apr 3, 2014  |  Updated 5:10 PM PDT
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A military satellite is blasted into space from the California coast Thursday April 3, 2014.

A military satellite is blasted into space from the California coast Thursday April 3, 2014.

Photos and Videos

Vandenberg Rocket Launch Biggest of Its Kind

Spectators came from across the state on Wednesday to catch a glimpse of a rocket launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The Delta IV Heavy rocket, with a top secret spy satellite on board, was the tallest of its kind to ever launch from the base. Conan Nolan reports from Vandenberg Air Force Base for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Aug. 28, 2013.

Atlas V Rocket Launch

An Atlas V rocket launches into the night sky Thursday Dec. 5, 2013 at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
More Photos and Videos

A U.S. military weather satellite was launched Thursday morning from California's coast.

An Atlas V rocket carrying the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program-19 spacecraft blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 7:46 a.m. PDT Thursday and soared past a thin layer of low clouds, headed for a polar orbit. United Launch Alliance webcast commentator Matt Donovan said the satellite was scheduled to be released from the upper stage 18 minutes after liftoff.

The program's satellites have been the primary provider of terrestrial and space weather information to the U.S. military for 50 years, according to The Air Force.

The satellite, built by Lockheed Martin, is part of the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. The technology allows military forecasters to locate and track weather systems all over the world, including remote areas in which troops are deployed.

The launch was the first in five years for the 50-year-old program. Many of the previous satellites launched through the program have been funtioning beyond their designed lifecycle.

Vandenberg AFB is about 70 miles northwest of Santa Barbara.
 

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