An Atlas V rocket carrying a satellite for NASA’s Landsat Data Continuity Mission will launch into space this morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The launch is scheduled to take place sometime between 10:02 and 10:50 a.m. at Space Launch Complex-3E, which is located northwest of Lompoc. Depending on weather conditions, the stage flame from the rocket may be visible as far north as Pismo Beach, according to Space Archive.

The purpose of the satellite is to survey natural and forced changes in the Earth’s surface as part of a partnership between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. The data collected from these observations will be used to compose more informed plans for various scientific and social issues such as urban planning, disaster recovery, agriculture, forest management and water administration.

The United Launch Alliance is also involved in the orchestration of the mission. Representatives from both NASA and USGS will be present, along with representatives from the 30th Space Wing, an Air Force organization that oversees all west coast Department of Defense space and missile launches.

This launch will mark the 36th Atlas V mission, the 68th ULA launch and the second ULA launch of this year. Created and controlled by the USGS, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission has collected a consecutive set of global land data since 1972, establishing the most comprehensive and longest record of the Earth’s landscape as seen by space.

The launch viewing party, which is free and open to the public, will be held in Providence Landing Park at 699 Mercury Avenue in Lompoc, starting at 8:30 a.m. Mobility, a band representing the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West, will be performing.

A version of this article appeared on page 1 of February 11th, 2013’s print edition of the Nexus.