CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Atlas V launched another satellite for the United States Air Force Friday evening.
SBIRS GEO-4, the fourth satellite of its kind to go into high orbit around the earth, is designed to use infrared to spot heat coming from potential missiles launched on earth, giving the U.S. an early heads-up on strikes.
The launch was previously scheduled for Thursday, but officials delayed it until Friday.
Three other SBIRS satellites launched by the Atlas V went to the same orbit and all sit about 22,000 miles above the earth's surface in the geostationary orbit.
Officials said in orbit, the satellites match the speed of the earth's rotation, so they seem to hover over the same patch of land at all times, helping to provide information for the US missile defense systems and data about what kinds of launches are happening on the ground.
The SBIRS GEO-4 took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at about 6:48 p.m.
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