US sends new satellite into space to monitor missile launches
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (REUTERS) - An unmanned Atlas 5 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Tuesday to put a second upgraded missile-warning satellite into orbit.
The 58-metre rocket lifted off from its seaside launch pad at 2121 GMT (5.21am Singapore time), carrying the United States (US) Air Force's second Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous, or Geo2, satellite.
Once operational, the spacecraft will join an orbital surveillance network that continually scans the globe for telltale signs of missile launches.
"The infrared signature coming out the back end of a missile, we see that," Air Force Space Commander William Shelton said on Tuesday during a House Science Committee hearing about detecting incoming asteroids and other space objects.