updated 2/28/2008 2:27:24 PM ET 2008-02-28T19:27:24

The launch of a rocket carrying a secret payload has been postponed to avoid possible space debris from the destruction of a spy satellite.

The Atlas 5 rocket was supposed to blast off Friday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California carrying a classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office.

But a launch hot line recording from the maker of the rocket said the launch will not occur until sometime in March. The recording said the delay was "a precautionary measure."

The Pentagon last week successfully shot down a dying, bus-sized spy satellite loaded with toxic fuel using a missile launched from a cruiser in the Pacific.

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