Delta IV heavy blasts off from California

Jan 21, 2011 By Nancy Atkinson

In an impressive show of rocket power, a United Space Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launched on Thursday afternoon with a classified spy satellite from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

This was the first launch of a Delta IV Heavy from Vandenberg, and was the largest rocket to ever launch from the west coast of the U.S. The satellite is for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.

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Although not many details were released about the NROL-49 , analysts say it is capable of snapping pictures so detailed it can distinguish the make and model of an automobile thousands of miles below.

With its nearly 2 millions pounds of thrust, the Delta IV Heavy is currently America’s most powerful liquid fueled .

Explore further: Lockheed Martin keeps fingers crossed for Orion's first test flight

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