An Atlas 5 rocket carrying a national security communications satellite is in orbit after an early morning launch.
The rocket launched at 7:07 a.m. Saturday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. It took into space the first of a series of new satellites that will be used for advanced military data.
The Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite, made by Lockheed Martin, has 10 times more capacity and moves data six times more efficiently than the five Milstar II communications satellites currently in use. The higher data rates can send video, battlefield maps, targeting data and other communications in real time.
The program will put six satellites into orbit over the next decade at a cost of $12.4 billion.