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SpaceX launches military weather satellite into orbit
SpaceX launches military weather satellite into orbit
by Clyde Hughes
Washington DC (UPI) Apr 11, 2024

SpaceX launched its second national security mission of 2024 on Thursday with a Falcon 9 rocket lifting the U.S. Space Force mission USSF-62 into orbit.

The mission took off from California's Vandenberg Space Force Base at 10:25 a.m. EDT. The mission sends a Weather System Follow-on Microwave satellite, or WSF-M, to low Earth orbit.

BAE Systems said it "will provide critical and actionable weather intelligence to military operations in all warfighting domains."

Air Force Col. Jim Horne, the senior material leader for Space Systems Command's Launch Execution Delta, said the satellite will prove important to military operations and "add to America's capabilities and improve its deterrence in the face of growing threats."

"The WSF-M satellite is a strategic solution tailored to address three high-priority Department of Defense SBEM gaps -- specifically, ocean surface vector winds, tropical cyclone intensity, and energetic charged particles in low Earth orbit," David Betz, WSF-M program manager, of the SSC Space Sensing, said in a statement.

"Beyond these primary capabilities, our instruments also provide vital data on sea ice characterization, soil moisture and snow depth."

SpaceX said it was the third launch of the first-stage booster supporting the mission. It was previously used on two Starlink missions. The first stage returned to Earth and landed on the Landing 4 zone at the Vandenberg Space Force Base.

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