The U.S. Air Force, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and United Launch Alliance team have successfully moved one step closer to the launching of the 19th Defense Meteorological Satellite Program block 5D weather satellite.
On March 14, engineers completed spacecraft encapsulation within the launch fairing at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
The DMSP-19 encapsulation within the Atlas V launch vehicle payload fairing represents an important milestone for the DMSP-19 launch campaign. This event marks the completion of spacecraft integration, functional testing and compatibility checks with the Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN).
The final phase of the DMSP-19 launch integration process is set to take place. The encapsulated payload will be carried on a transporter to the launch pad. Once at the launch pad, the payload fairing assembly will be lifted and integrated onto the 57 meter tall Atlas V launch vehicle. The Atlas is developed by ULA, headquartered in Denver, Colo.
DMSP-19 is scheduled to launch on April 3, 2014. This will be the second time a DMSP satellite is launched with an Atlas V rocket.
For the past 50 years, the DMSP satellites have been the primary provider of terrestrial and space weather information to the US military. DMSP satellites have fulfilled the military’s most critical requirements for global atmospheric, oceanic, terrestrial, and space environment information. DMSP sensors provide imagery in visible, infrared and microwave bands to enhance information available to the warfighter. Through these satellites, military users find, track and forecast weather systems over remote and hostile areas for deployed troops.
The Air Force Space Command’s 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. Its portfolio includes GPS, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control networks, space based infrared systems and space situational awareness capabilities.