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Delta II launch successful

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --  Vandenberg successfully launched a Delta II rocket from Space Launch Complex-2 at 1:24 p.m. May 5. At approximately one hour after liftoff, with confirmation of the payload's delivery into low Earth orbit, the launch was pronounced a success. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Lee)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Vandenberg successfully launched a Delta II rocket from Space Launch Complex-2 at 1:24 p.m. May 5. At approximately one hour after liftoff, with confirmation of the payload's delivery into low Earth orbit, the launch was pronounced a success. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Lee)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Vandenberg successfully launched a Delta II rocket from Space Launch Complex-2 at 1:24 p.m. May 5. The rocket carried an experimental satellite for Missile Defense Agency's Space Tracking and Surveillance System Advanced Technology Risk Reduction mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Heather R. Shaw)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Vandenberg successfully launched a Delta II rocket from Space Launch Complex-2 at 1:24 p.m. May 5. The rocket carried an experimental satellite for Missile Defense Agency's Space Tracking and Surveillance System Advanced Technology Risk Reduction mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Heather R. Shaw)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Vandenberg successfully launched a Delta II rocket from Space Launch Complex-2 at 1:24 p.m. May 5. The rocket carried an experimental satellite for the Missile Defense Agency's Space Tracking and Surveillance System Advanced Technology Risk Reduction mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Kerelin Molina)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Vandenberg successfully launched a Delta II rocket from Space Launch Complex-2 at 1:24 p.m. May 5. The rocket carried an experimental satellite for the Missile Defense Agency's Space Tracking and Surveillance System Advanced Technology Risk Reduction mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Kerelin Molina)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Vandenberg successfully launched a Delta II rocket from Space Launch Complex-2 at 1:24 p.m. May 5. The rocket carried an experimental satellite for the Missile Defense Agency's Space Tracking and Surveillance System Advanced Technology Risk Reduction mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Kerelin Molina)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Vandenberg successfully launched a Delta II rocket from Space Launch Complex-2 at 1:24 p.m. May 5. The rocket carried an experimental satellite for the Missile Defense Agency's Space Tracking and Surveillance System Advanced Technology Risk Reduction mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Kerelin Molina)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Vandenberg successfully launched a Delta II rocket from Space Launch Complex-2 today at 1:24 p.m May 5.

The rocket carried an experimental satellite for the Missile Defense Agency's Space Tracking and Surveillance System Advanced Technology Risk Reduction mission.

At approximately one hour after liftoff, with confirmation of the payload's delivery into low Earth orbit, the launch was pronounced a success.

Col. Steve Winters, the 30th Space Wing vice commander, was the launch decision authority for this mission.

"It's incredibly satisfying knowing the work you're doing is crucial to national defense," Colonel Winters said. "I'm very proud of our Airmen and mission partners for all the hard work they have put into this important mission."

The STSS ATRR serves as a technology pathfinder for the STSS mission, which is a space-based sensor component of a layered Ballistic Missile Defense System.

To carry out this mission, range operators from the 2nd Range Operations Squadron here worked hand in hand with mission partners from the MDA, NASA and the United Launch Alliance.

"We started preparing for this mission about six months ago," said Capt. Barbara King, the mission range operations commander. "It's great to see how far we've come in that time, especially in the past month when range preparation and rehearsals really picked up."

Western Range operators here are a key part of every launch from Vandenberg. They work to ensure safe and successful West Coast launch operations.

Vandenberg is next scheduled to launch a Minuteman III ICBM in partnership with the 576th Flight Test Squadron on May 20.