Satellite blasts off from Vandenberg

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. The Atlas 5 lifted off at 9:12 a.m. Sunday with a Defense Meteorological Satellite Program payload intended for polar orbit more than 510 miles (830 kilometers) high.

The DMSP satellites provide global environmental information to the Defense Department and other government agencies.

Two operational satellites are kept in orbit at all times, according to the Air Force. Each completes an orbit of the Earth every 101 minutes, observing in swaths 1,860 miles (3,000 kilometers) wide.

The new satellite will be operated by the 6th Space Operations Squadron based at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo.

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