Weather Satellite Transferred to Launch Site

The Air Force’s 19th Defense Meteorological Satellite Program weather satellite arrived at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., in preparation for its scheduled launch into orbit next year, announced prime contractor Lockheed Martin. The satellite touched down at Vandy on Aug. 1 aboard a C-17 transport that flew in from Sunnyvale, Calif., states the company’s Aug. 2 release. Sunnyvale is the site of Lockheed Martin’s satellite assembly facility. DMSP-19 is slated to go into orbit in March 2014 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The satellite will now undergo final launch preparations, encapsulation, and then eventually transport to the start pad for the launch, states the release. Northrop Grumman is the DMSP sensor provider. For the past 50 years, DMSP satellites have allowed the US military to forecast and track weather fronts. DMSP-20 is already built and available for launch. It is the last satellite planned in the series before a yet-to-be-defined, follow-on weather satellite comes along.