Sunny Outlook

Lockheed Martin announced Wednesday that the latest Defense Meteorological Satellite Program spacecraft is undergoing final preparations in anticipation of its scheduled launch into orbit on Oct. 18 from Vandenberg AFB, Calif. A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will carry this satellite, which is designated F-18, into space. It will be the first DMSP satellite launched since November 2006. Overall, 36 DMSP spacecraft have been successfully placed in space since 1965 for strategic and tactical weather prediction, according to the company. F-18 is the third DMSP spacecraft in the Block 5D-3 configuration, which features items like a larger sensor payload and greater onboard power, computer memory and battery capacity than earlier generations. After F-18, the Air Force has two more DMSP spacecraft available for launch, said Lockheed.