LOMPOC, Calif. – It was an historic day at Vandenberg Space Force Base Monday.
An Atlas V rocket took off from the base just after 11 a.m. The rocket will deliver next-generation satellites into orbit.
The satellites are expected to monitor and photograph the earth for geological changes including those created by climate change.
The Landsat Mission Program is celebrating its 50th year at Vandenberg. It's a partnership between NASA, the US Geological Survey and United Launch Alliance which builds the Atlas V rocket.
Large crowds gathered at various locations in the Lompoc Valley and on the base to watch rocket launch number 2,000 at Vandenberg. The community celebrated the launch as part of "Landsat Week."
"NASA brought some great ideas to the table, and collaborating with Explore Lompoc, the City of Lompoc, the mural society, the USGS and Vandenberg Space Force Base, we were able to bring them all to life for what we now call Landsat Week," said Gilda Cordova with Explore Lompoc. "We've partnered before with NASA, when they did the Mission to Mars launch and we saw almost 5,000 visitors come in, so we're hoping to see at least half of that come out for Landsat."
Several special events have been planned in the Lompoc valley for Landsat week, including an art exhibit at the main Lompoc city library.
There were reunions and gatherings of former Landsat mission colleagues over the weekend. More events are planned throughout the week to celebrate the 50th year of Landsat at Vandenberg.