VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE -- A 19-story white rocket successfully lifted a NASA science satellite into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base, located northwest of Santa Barbara.
The picture-perfect launch, which took place Monday at 10:02 a.m. PST, occurred at the base’s Space Launch Complex-3 along the Pacific Ocean.
The Atlas V rocket, built by United Launch Alliance, boosted the Landsat 8 satellite about 410 miles above the Earth. The satellite’s first signal was received 82 minutes into the mission at a ground station in Svalbard, Norway, the space agency said.
The satellite, made by Orbital Sciences Corp., is set to monitor forests and observe disaster recovery as well as agriculture, energy and water management. It is the eighth in a series of satellites that have been observing Earth's land surfaces since 1972.