Weather satellite blasts off from SoCal coast

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) - 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. 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 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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