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Space Force mission blasts off from Florida after multiple delays

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Space Force mission blasts off from Florida after multiple delays
The STP-3 mission for the U.S. Space Force is seen mounted atop its ride into space, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket in Florida. Photo courtesy of United Launch Alliance

Dec. 7 (UPI) -- A mission overseen by the U.S. Space Force to send equipment into space aboard an Atlas V rocket lifted off from Florida early Tuesday after a delay of several days.

United Launch Alliance sent the Space Test Program-3 (STP-3) mission into space from Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at about 5:19 a.m. EST Tuesday.

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The mission lifted off carrying experimental satellites and was scheduled to reach geosynchronous orbit about 7 hours after leaving the Earth. It also includes a NASA experiment to test data transmission using lasers.

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The launch had been scheduled for last week, but was delayed multiple times due to a leak in the rocket propellant ground storage system.

NASA said Sunday that the launch team repaired the storage system but required more time "to verify the sample integrity of the fuel prior to tanking operations," which pushed the flight to Tuesday.

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The U.S. Space Force's Space Test Program was created to fly experimental payloads to test technologies for potential future military missions. The STP-3 mission is composed of a primary spacecraft and a ride-share spacecraft, which are mostly classified.

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United Launch Alliance said the mission is carrying several Defense Department space experiments. It's ULA's third launch from Florida this year.

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