Image: Delta 2 launch
A Boeing Delta 2 rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral on Saturday, sending a Global Positioning Satellite into orbit.
updated 3/21/2004 2:28:33 AM ET 2004-03-21T07:28:33

A rocket roared from its seaside launch pad Saturday, carrying into space a $45 million Air Force Global Positioning System satellite.

The satellite will join a constellation of 27 other satellites already in orbit about 11,000 nautical miles above the earth, Air Force officials said. It will replace an aging satellite.

The satellite was carried into space by a Boeing Delta 2 rocket.

The satellite system provides signals to military personnel and civilians with GPS receivers, allowing them to determine their position and velocity with great accuracy.

The new satellite, to begin service in mid-April, has a life expectancy of 10 years.

The system is indispensable to military personnel, who use it not only for navigation, but also to broadcast their positions to allied forces in Iraq and other war zones to avoid friendly fire, Air Force Space Command Lt. Col. Michael Mason said.


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