According to the Los Angeles Times, the satellite will be launched into space atop an Atlas V rocket as part of the military’s Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, which began in 1962.
The satellite helps the military identify and assess thunderstorms, hurricanes and typhoons, while also providing data to the public via the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
As the Los Angeles Times reports, the 2,720-pound satellite will circle the Earth at a 500-mile altitude in a near-polar orbit while sending down imagery for worldwide weather forecasts. It will scan an area 1,800 miles wide and circle the planet in roughly 12 hours.
In the 50-year history of the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, 50 satellites have been launched successfully.
Liftoff of the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 19 spacecraft occurred at 7:46 a.m. local time (10:46 a.m. EDT; 14:46 GMT).