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Team Vandenberg is scheduled to launch the WorldView-4 satellite on an Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-3 here Friday, Sept. 16, with a launch window opening at 11:30 a.m. PDT. 


The rocket, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 provided by Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services, has a four meter fairing to safely hold the satellite as it accelerates to 17,000 miles per hour during launch - more than seven times faster than the top speed clocked by the SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest jet plane ever.


The 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg Air Force Base is responsible for range safety and launch operations.


Col. Chris Moss, 30th Space Wing commander, will be the launch decision authority.


"Team V is excited to launch the Atlas V WorldView-4 mission from Vandenberg's Western Range.  The combined 30th Space Wing and United Launch Alliance team has spent months preparing to ensure this launch is both safe and successful.  We have a very strong partnership with ULA and we're proud to have teamed with them on this fantastic mission," said Moss.


WorldView-4 is the latest in a series of imaging and data satellites built by Lockheed Martin for customers around the world. The satellite is outfitted with cutting-edge star trackers that enable extremely precise pointing for its imaging system, which is so advanced it can discern the make of a car from its orbit in space.


The local community can view this launch from the Hawk's Nest on Hwy 1 just a half mile south of Vandenberg Air Force Base's main gate.