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Atlas V launch scheduled

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- An Atlas V launches from Space Launch Complex-3 on March 13. Col. Steve Tanous, 30th Space Wing commander, was the space lift commander for this mission. This was the first Atlas V launched from Vandenberg and the west coast, as well as the first launch of the year. This milestone for Team Vandenberg is the product of the combined efforts of the 30th Space Wing, the National Reconnaissance Office, United Launch Alliance, the Space and Missile Systems Center, the Aerospace Corporation and more. SLC 3 was significantly modified to get ready for the next generation of space launch vehicles. The Atlas V will be its first launch since the modifications were completed. Previously used for 21 Atlas II launches, the pad received significant upgrades to accommodate the larger and more powerful booster. The tower was made taller, the overhang was extended with a much bigger crane, and the entire pad deck was reconfigured. The pad also features a brand new fixed launch platform. (U.S. Air Force photo/Joe Davila) (Released)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- An Atlas V launches from Space Launch Complex-3 on March 13. Col. Steve Tanous, 30th Space Wing commander, was the space lift commander for this mission. This was the first Atlas V launched from Vandenberg and the west coast, as well as the first launch of the year. This milestone for Team Vandenberg is the product of the combined efforts of the 30th Space Wing, the National Reconnaissance Office, United Launch Alliance, the Space and Missile Systems Center, the Aerospace Corporation and more. SLC 3 was significantly modified to get ready for the next generation of space launch vehicles. The Atlas V will be its first launch since the modifications were completed. Previously used for 21 Atlas II launches, the pad received significant upgrades to accommodate the larger and more powerful booster. The tower was made taller, the overhang was extended with a much bigger crane, and the entire pad deck was reconfigured. The pad also features a brand new fixed launch platform. (U.S. Air Force photo/Joe Davila) (Released)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Vandenberg is scheduled to launch an Atlas V rocket carrying a Defense Meteorological Satellite Program payload from South Vandenberg's Space Launch Complex-3 on Sunday with a current launch window of 9:00 to 9:30 a.m.

Col. Steven Winters, 30th Space Wing vice commander, will be the spacelift commander for this mission.

This will be the second Atlas V and the first Air Force payload to be launched on an Atlas V from Vandenberg.

Atlas V is part of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle family. The program, which began in the 1990s with the goal of making government space launches more affordable and reliable, resulted in the development of two launch systems, Delta IV and Atlas V.

The DMSP designs, builds, launches, and maintains satellites monitoring the meteorological, oceanographic, and solar-terrestrial physics environments for the Department of Defense. Each DMSP satellite has a 101 minute, sun-synchronous near-polar orbit at an altitude of 830km above the surface of the earth. DMSP sensors collect images across a 3000km swath, providing global coverage twice per day.

Once operational, the DMSP payload will be managed by Airmen from the 6th Space Operations Squadron, an all Air Force Reserve unit stationed out of Schriever AFB, Colo.