Defense Satellite Headed Toward Earth Orbit

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) _ A national security satellite is
headed toward a position 22,000 miles above the Earth.

The sensitive payload blasted off atop a Delta 4 rocket Saturday
night at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The 23-story rocket was launched at 8:50 p.m. Eastern. It took
nearly 15 seconds to clear the launch pad. The 1.6 million pound
rocket uses three common booster cores that are strapped together
with a trio of hydrogen-fueled motors added to an upper stage
rocket.

The satellite is the 23rd and final of the Air Force's Defense
Support Program.

The reconnaissance satellites use infrared sensors that detect
heat from missile and booster plumes against the background of the
Earth.


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