Delta II launch successful

A Delta II rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex-2 here at 3:02 a.m. April 28. (U.S. Air Force photo by Damwyk Roylan)

A Delta II rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex-2 here at 3:02 a.m. April 28. (U.S. Air Force photo by Damwyk Roylan)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Vandenberg AFB personnel launched a Delta II rocket April 28 at 3:02 a.m.

The rocket took off from Space Launch Complex-2 carrying NASA’s CloudSat and Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations, or CALIPSO, satellites.

The rocket carries the CloudSat and CALIPSO satellites into a 438-mile, circular sun-synchronous orbit.

Col. Jack Weinstein, 30th Space Wing commander, was the spacelift commander for this mission, or final go-for-launch authority. Chuck Dovale was NASA’s launch manager, for the mission.

"This was our third launch this month and it is a testament to the tremendous team effort between NASA, the 30th Space Wing and our industry partners," Colonel Weinstein said. "We have one opportunity to be successful with each launch so 100 percent mission success is our standard."

The primary role of the 6,248-pound spacecraft is to gather information about the Earth’s water cycle. Together, CALIPSO and CloudSat will provide new perspectives on Earth’s clouds and aerosols, answering questions about how they form, evolve and affect water supply, climate, weather and air quality.

The Delta II is an expendable launch, medium-lift vehicle. It carries civil and commercial payloads into low-earth, polar, geosynchronous transfer and stationary orbits.