The U.S. Air Force, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman team successfully delivered the 19th Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, block 5D3, weather satellite Aug. 1 to Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., where it will be prepared for launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle.
An Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, operated by the 60th Air Mobility Wing from Travis Air Force Base, Calif., transported DMSP Flight19 from Sunnyvale, Calif., to Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. DMSP F19 will undergo final launch preparations, encapsulation and transport to Space Launch Complex 3 East at Vandenberg Air Force Base over the next 250 days and is on track for a March 2014 launch.
“We’re proud to have our fourth Block 5D-3 spacecraft at the launch site,” said Sue Stretch, DMSP program director at Lockheed Martin. “We’ve produced almost 50 defense weather satellites in 50 years, and our block 5D3 DMSP satellites deliver evolved capability. Our partnership with the Air Force dates to the very beginning of the DMSP program with a common goal of ensuring that commanders have access to environmental data critical to the preparation and execution of military operations.”
For the past 50 years, the DMSP satellites have fulfilled the military’s most critical requirements for global atmospheric, oceanic, terrestrial and space environment information. Through these satellites, military users find, track and forecast weather systems over remote and hostile areas for deployed troops. Additionally, DMSP supports a broad range of civil users with sensing capabilities not provided by U.S. civil and foreign weather satellite systems.
The Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the U.S. Air Force’s center of acquisition excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. SMC manages more than $60 billion in contracts, executes annual budgets of $10 billion and employs more than 6,200 people worldwide.