Artist’s rendering of WGS-11+

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Team Vandenberg successfully launched the 19th U.S. Air Force Defense Meteorological Satellite Program payload on an Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-3 here Thursday, April 3, at 7:46 am PDT.

The DMSP satellite was built by Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman and United Launch Alliance builds and flies the rocket. Col. Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing commander, was the launch decision authority.

"This was our first launch of 2014 and I couldn't be more proud of this team of professionals," said Balts. "The team, which included the Space and Missile Systems Center, ULA, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, worked diligently to ensure that this launch was safe and successful." The 4th Space Launch Squadron is in charge of mission assurance and safety for this launch operation.

"A launch like this takes teamwork and dedication," said Lt. Col. James Bodnar, 4th SLS commander. "Our mission assurance technicians and engineers have worked hand-in-hand with United Launch Alliance going over critical procedures and tasks to ensure this launch was successful."

DMSP is the primary provider of terrestrial and space weather information for the U.S. military. DMSP satellites carry sensors vital to weather prediction and space weather forecasting. DMSP sensors provide visible, infrared, microwave and space weather data to enhance information available to the warfighter. The Air Force, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, works to continually improve the developing science of weather forecasting. DMSP satellites produce global coverage to provide the military with timely, accurate and continuous weather information.