Photo: Successful Atlas V launch at Vandenberg AFB
An Atlas V rocket successfully left Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base Thursday morning during the 7:46 to 7:56 a.m. launch window.
This was the first launch of the year at Vandenberg and involved sending a meteorological satellite (DMSP-19) into orbit to be used by the military and other government agencies.
Weather for the launch was clear and cool, with temperatures in the mid to upper 40s. Residents of the Central Coast reported seeing the Atlas V travel into space from as far as 45 miles away.
The Space and Missles System Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo reported a successful spacecraft separation just after 8 a.m. PDT.
The DMSP-19 will orbit the Earth 14 times a day (polar orbit) at an altitude of 526 miles. The satellite is 25 ft. long and weighs 2562 lbs. It's able to observe any place on Earth twice a day.