Image: Weather Satellite
Andrew Lee  /  AP
A Delta II rocket launches Feb. 6, 2009 from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Calif. The rocket carried a NOAA-N Prime polar-orbiting weather satellite for NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This was Vandenberg?s first launch of 2009.
updated 2/6/2009 2:06:01 PM ET 2009-02-06T19:06:01

A rocket carrying a U.S. global weather satellite has blasted off from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The NOAA-N Prime satellite was launched aboard a Delta 2 rocket from the central coast base at 2:22 a.m. PT (5:22 a.m. ET) Friday.

The launch had been planned for Wednesday, but it was postponed because of launch pad technical problems.

NOAA-N Prime is the last in a series of polar-orbiting satellites that have been observing Earth's weather since 1960. Its data will be used for long-range weather and climate forecasts.

The satellite also carries sensors that can receive distress signals from mariners and hikers.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration manages the $564 million mission. The satellite was built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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