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Last of its kind Delta IV Medium Rocket puts GPS satellite in orbit

A United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket lifts off from space launch complex 37 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with the second Global Positioning System III payload, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (Associated Press)
Published Aug. 22

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A rocket that's the last of its kind has delivered the newest, most powerful GPS satellite to orbit for the Air Force.

United Launch Alliance's Delta IV medium-class rocket lifted off Thursday morning from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. It was a fitting swan song for the rocket. Company President Tory Bruno tweeted that the liftoff was "hot, straight and normal."

The Delta IV Medium ended its nearly two-decade run with 29 launches. Denver-based United Launch Alliance says it will be replaced by the still-in-development Vulcan rocket.

The newly launched GPS satellite is the second in a series of next-generation navigation spacecraft. It's nicknamed Magellan after the 16th-century Portuguese explorer. Lockheed Martin, also based in Colorado, built the satellite.

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