Video: Atlas 5 lifts off

updated 10/11/2007 3:49:05 PM ET 2007-10-11T19:49:05

A rocket carrying a satellite used for communication by the U.S. Air Force lifted off Wednesday night.

The Atlas 5, which launched at 8:22 p.m. ET from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, carried a Wideband Global SATCOM satellite into orbit. It is the first of at least five satellites that will be placed in orbit through 2008.

The system will replace the current Defense Satellite Communications System that has been used for military communications for the last two decades.

This first satellite will cover the Pacific Zone, which includes Hawaii, Japan and Southeast Asia. Each spacecraft will cost $350 million.

The current communication system will be used in conjunction with the Wideband Global SATCOM system until being phased out within the next few years.

Col. David Urich, the Military Satellite Communications Systems Wing vice commander, said the first spacecraft alone "will provide more capacity than all the current DSCS satellites currently in use."

The launch had been scheduled for Tuesday, but was delayed a day as engineers checked data that might have indicated the Atlas V rocket would have fallen short of its intended orbit.

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