Penultimate DMSP Satellite Soars to Orbit

Aerospace executives in the El Segundo STARS lab watch the launch of the DMSP-19 satellite on April 3. (Photo: Eric Hamburg/The Aerospace Corporation)

An Atlas V rocket launching from Vandenberg Air Force Base Thursday morning, April 3, carried the penultimate Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) spacecraft to orbit.

Ray Johnson, vice president of Space Launch Operations, issued the following statement: “This is Ray Johnson on Thursday, April 3, and I’m very pleased to announce the successful launch of the Atlas V and its DMSP-19 satellite. The vehicle lifted off of Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base at the opening of the window at 7:46 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. It was a very successful mission with no major problems. The Atlas team is aggressively completing their postflight review in preparation for supporting next week’s launch of the Atlas V NROL-67 launch from the Cape. I want to thank the Atlas team for all the hard work, and congratulations to the Atlas and DMSP team on this very successful launch.”

The DMSP carries a sophisticated suite of weather instruments that includes sensors in the visible and infrared spectrums for observing cloud cover, surface temperatures, precipitation, soil moisture, and space weather.

The DMSP-20 satellite has already been built and is expected to be launched in 2016.