Atlas 5 Lofts DMSP Satellite into Orbit

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A U.S. Air Force weather satellite was launched Oct. 18 from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket. The launch occurred at 6:12 a.m. EDT.

The Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) F-18 Block 5D-3 spacecraft was built by Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Lockheed Martin Space Systems and will be used by the U.S. military for strategic and tactical weather prediction. The Block 5D-3 series accommodates larger payloads than earlier generations of the satellite. The Air Force has successfully launched 36 Lockheed Martin DMSP satellites since 1965.

Lockheed Martin has two more DMSP satellites in storage awaiting call up by the Air Force. The DMSP constellation consists of two satellites in near-polar orbit.