Technicians work on the Space-Based Space Surveillance satellite in Boulder, Colo. The satellite is a $500 million U.S. Air Force spacecraft that will provide the first full-time, space-based eye on thousands of other satellites and pieces of debris that could crash into American assets circling the Earth.
updated 7/6/2010 7:28:52 PM ET 2010-07-06T23:28:52

The launch of a new U.S. Air Force space surveillance satellite has been delayed due to a software problem in a rocket similar to the one that will lift the satellite into orbit.

The Space-Based Space Surveillance satellite was scheduled to lift off Thursday from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. No new launch date has been set.

Air Force officials said Tuesday that tests revealed a software problem on another Minotaur IV rocket. No other details have been released.

The satellite is designed to give the Air Force its first full-time, space-based surveillance of satellites and debris in Earth orbit.

The Air Force monitors about 1,000 active satellites and 20,000 pieces of debris for possible collisions.

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