High-resolution imaging satellite launches from California

Satellite can see Earth objects as small as 1-foot across

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist
Matt Hartman via AP

An Atlas 5 rocket carrying the WorldView-4 satellite is launched at the Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016. The satellite is designed to produce high-resolution images of Earth from space.

United Launch Alliance successfully launched a high-resolution Earth-observing satellite into orbit on Friday.

The ULA Atlas V rocket lifted off with its payload from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 1:30 p.m. EST.

The satellite, known as WorldView 4, is a commercial satellite owned and operated by DigitalGlobe. The imaging satellite is designed to capture high-resolution images of the Earth for government and private customers, according to DigitalGlobe.

The camera aboard the satellite is so sharp that it can spot the make of a car from nearly 400 miles above Earth, according to Lockheed Martin.

It joins sister satellite, WorldView-3, which launched from the Vandenberg base in 2014. Both satellites can capture images of objects as small as 1 foot across.

The launch, originally scheduled for Sept. 16, was delayed because of a minor tank leak and two wildfires near the Air Force base, ULA said.  Firefighters who were assigned to the launch were diverted to corralling the flames.

The launch was ULA’s ninth launch of the year and the 112th successful launch since 2006.

On Nov. 19, ULA is set launch another satellite on the east coast. NASA and NOAA satellite, GOES-R will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base. The one-hour launch window opens at 5:42 p.m. Saturday.

GOES-R will quickly monitor weather patterns and severe storms on Earth and help NOAA with long-term forecasting.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

United Launch Alliance

The Atlas V rocket carrying the WorldView-4 satellite is launched at the Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016. The satellite is designed to produce high-resolution images of Earth from space.

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