By CBSLA Staff

HAWTHORNE (CBSLA) — Hawthorne-based SpaceX Thursday successfully launched a rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida carrying a U.S. Space Force GPS satellite into orbit.

SpaceX launched the satellite after multiple scrubbed missions at it’s scheduled time, 3:24 p.m.

Following the launch, SpaceX successfully landed the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket used in the mission on a barge — dubbed “Of Course I Still Love You” — in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.

The launch of the GPS III Space Vehicle 04 has already been delayed multiple times. A scheduled launch was delayed in late September due to the competing scheduling of a United Launch Alliance mission for the National Reconnaissance Office.

Another launch attempt on On Oct. 2 was scrubbed just two seconds before liftoff.

If successful, the U.S. Space Force launch will be the third National Security Space Launch by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The GPS satellite will be added to an array that already includes 31 satellites orbiting at a rough altitude of 12,550 miles above the Earth.

“Our GPS III team is excited to be here once again,” Col. Edward Byrne, Medium Earth Orbit Space Systems Division chief, said in a statement ahead of the original September launch date. “Less than three months ago, we successfully launched GPS III SV03. Since then, the team has successfully delivered the satellite to its final orbit, performed on-orbit testing and delivered the satellite to operations, while executing a mature satellite production line. I can’t be more proud of everyone involved in this mission.

“The launch of GPS III SV04 will continue to modernize our GPS constellation by increasing our capabilities with advanced features for both our civil and military users across the world,” he said.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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