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Earth Monitoring Satellite Successfully Launched From Central Coast

United Launch Alliance
An Atlas V rocket lifts off from Vandenberg Space Force Base Monday morning, carrying a Landsat 9 earth observation satellite into orbit.

Landsat 9 satellite now in orbit after Monday morning launch.

It was a picture perfect rocket launch from the Central Coast Monday morning, as an Atlas V rocket lifted a Landsat 9 earth observation satellite into orbit.

The United Launch Alliance rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base at 11:12 a.m. The launch was also a milestone, marking the 2000th for the base.

While the launch was picture perfect, many people didn't get to see the picture. Low clouds obscured the launch to observers throughout the Tri-Counties who had been hoping to get a glimpse of the liftoff.

The launch was postponed for a combination of reasons from the original target date of mid-September.

The Landsat 9 satellite will circle the earth in an orbit about 440 miles above the planet's surface. It will replace Landsat 7, which is more than 20 years old. The satellite's earth observation equipment will allow it to track everything from shrinking glaciers to urban sprawl.

In addition to sending the Landsat 9 satellite into orbit, the mission also deployed four small Cubesat satellites which will be used for a variety of scientific investigations.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.