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SMC Announces Successful Shipment of DMSP Flight-18 Spacecraft to Vandenberg

Defense Satellite Meteorological Program (DMSP), supported by the 6th Space Operations Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. Image courtesy of Lockheed-Martin for Air Force and media publications; use for commercial purposes is prohibited.

DMSP Satellite

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Lockheed Martin personnel watch carefully as a flatbed truck drives off while the Defense Meteorological Satellites Program satellite is lifted before being uncovered, here on Dec. 14. The DMSP satellite monitors solar-terrestrial physics and provides photographic reconnaissance and surveillance for the U.S. Department of Defense. It's a valuable tool in scheduling and protecting military operations in the Air Force.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Ashley Tyler)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Lockheed Martin personnel watch carefully as a flatbed truck drives off while the Defense Meteorological Satellites Program satellite is lifted before being uncovered, here on Dec. 14. The DMSP satellite monitors solar-terrestrial physics and provides photographic reconnaissance and surveillance for the U.S. Department of Defense. It's a valuable tool in scheduling and protecting military operations in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Ashley Tyler)

Los Angeles Air Force Base -- Officials at the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Systems Group announced today they have successfully shipped the DMSP Flight -18 spacecraft from a Lockheed Martin Space Systems facility in Sunnyvale, Calif., to Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. 

The spacecraft was shipped aboard a C17 Globemaster III assigned to the 21st Airlift Squadron at Travis Air Force Base and departed Moffett Field, Calif., early this morning. 

"Shipment of F-18 from the factory to VAFB is a significant milestone in the launch preparation process," said Col. Bradley Smith, commander, Defense Meteorological Systems Group. "F-18 has completed several retrofits, modifications, sensor integrations and a full gambit of mechanical, electrical and environmental testing over the past 18 months at Lockheed Martin Space Systems." 

The successful shipment and placement of the spacecraft into the Payload Integration and Testing Facility at VAFB signifies completion of all environmental testing. The spacecraft will continue to undergo final preparation for launch processing. 

The 30th Launch Support Squadron is responsible for the care and handling of the vehicle from the moment it arrives at VAFB to launch. At VAFB, F-18 will undergo routine integration and testing, including integration of the ultraviolet sensor from Northrop Grumman and flight battery integration and checkout. 

Then it will be transported to an encapsulation facility where it will be mated with the Atlas V booster. F-18 is scheduled to be launched next summer and will replace DMSP F-16 which was launched in 2003.

The 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 including six wings and three groups responsible for GPS, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control network, space based infrared systems, intercontinental ballistic missile systems and space situational awareness capabilities. SMC manages more than $60 billion in contracts, executes annual budgets of $10 billion and employs more than 6,800 people worldwide.

Media representatives can submit requests for interviews or questions for response regarding this topic by sending an email to: smcpa.media@losangeles.af.mil