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Delta 4 rocket blasts off, carrying Global Positioning System satellite into space

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — After a delay of several days because of technical issues, a Delta 4 rocket has rumbled into the sky from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying a GPS satellite.

Officials said the military craft that blasted off Thursday night would be used for national security and navigation.

It's the first of a new generation of Global Positioning System satellites going into orbit. A dozen such Boeing-built satellites will be launched over the next several years to replace 20-year-old satellites now in service.

This will be the first GPS mission to launch on a Delta 4, after 49 missions launched atop the smaller Delta 2 between 1989 and 2009. Future GPS spacecraft will be lifted into orbit on the Delta 4, on the Atlas 4 and on ULA's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle.

(This version CORRECTS location of launch to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.)

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