Atlas V rocket launches from Cape Canaveral

Launch comes day after rocket exploded in Virginia


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – A day after an Antares rocket exploded in Virginia on Tuesday, an Atlas V rocket launched Wednesday from Cape Canaveral.

[RELATED: PICS: Atlas V rocket launchVIDEO: Local 6's live coverage of explosion | VIDEO: Shock wave hits bystanders | PICS: Rocket explodes | STORY: Unmanned NASA rocket explodes ]


United Launch Alliance launched its 50th Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 1:21 p.m.

The rocket is carrying a Boeing Global Positioning System satellite into orbit, according to ULA's website. The satellite is designed to improve accuracy, signals and performance for both military and civilian users, such as mapping a car's route on your smartphone.

"And it's very important to all of us. From our cars to anything that we do that we need location. So this is a very important system for the government and the Air Force," said John Hillard of the 45th Space Wing.

A larger crowd gathered at the launch at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station after Tuesday night's rocket explosion.

"This is a larger crowd that we normally have out for these launches. We have a lot of people that are very interested in it, mainly because of the events that happened last night," he said.

ULA has had a near-perfect track record, launching their last 50 rockets into orbit successfully.

There are three more launches scheduled from Cape Canaveral in 2014, including the testing of the Orion spacecraft on Dec. 4. NASA hopes Orion will one day take astronauts to Mars.

After Tuesday's incident, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said spaceflight is inherently risky.

"As we push the frontiers of space there will be setbacks, but our commercial space ventures will ultimately be successful."

[LOCAL REPORT: Unmanned Antares rocket explodes]

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