VANDENBERG AFB, Calif -

Vandenberg Air Force Base launched a $500 million weather military satellite into orbit Thursday at 7:46 a.m.

The satellite launched off of an Atlas 5 Rocket. It will be used to take visible and infrared cloud pictures, measure soil, precipitation- and surface temperature. It will also be used to collect space weather data.

The program was supposed to have launched 15 years ago, but because the previous satellites lasted much longer than expected, they were kept in orbit instead.

The satellite was built in the mid 1990's in New Jersey. It was then sent to Sunnyvale, CA where it was put into storage and brought to Vandenberg in 2013 via C-17 aircraft.