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Atlas V launch scheduled at Vandenberg AFB

NASA Goddard Photo and Video

An Atlas V rocket  is scheduled for a launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Thursday, April 3. The window for launch opens at 7:46 a.m.

The rocket's payload includes a satellite for the Air Force Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. It was built by Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. United Launch Alliance builds and flies the rocket.

Col. Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing commander will be in charge of the launch decision.

"We are excited and ready to take on our first launch of 2014," said Balts. "I am proud of this launch team, which has been working tirelessly toward this launch for months."

This is the first launch of the year, according to the Air Force.

These polar orbiting satellites operate in sun-synchronous orbits and continuously send down imagery, microwave and space weather data. The military uses the information to support its efforts.

Weather forecasters use the information to predict regional and global weather patterns, including severe thunderstorms, hurricanes and typhoons.

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