Rocket launches from California coast

Apr 15, 2011

A rocket carrying a national security payload has been successfully launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on California's central coast.

The Atlas 5 blasted off shortly before 9:30 p.m. Thursday. Vandenberg officials said the satellite was carrying a classified payload from the National Reconnaissance Office, which oversees the nation's constellation of spy satellites.

The rocket appeared as a brilliant light streaking across a clear Southern California night sky.

A live video feed of the launch showed exhaust pouring out of the engines and lingering in the atmosphere as the rocket climbed.

The launch, which was scheduled for Tuesday, had been delayed because of a problem with the rocket's avionics that has since been fixed.

After , the rocket, flying with a single solid rocket booster, headed south on 1 million pounds of thrust - equal to the energy of about two dozen Hoover Dams.

The mission is classified and no other details are available about the satellite's purpose or cost.

United Launch Alliance, the joint venture of rocket builders Corp. and Boeing Co., said it's the fifth defense it has launched for the reconnaissance office in the past seven months.

Explore further: NASA's Maven explorer arrives at Mars after year

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Delta IV heavy blasts off from California

Jan 21, 2011

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.

Satellite launched from Vandenberg

Nov 06, 2010

(AP) -- A rocket carrying an Earth-observation satellite for civilian and military use has launched from California's Central Coast.

Recommended for you

NASA launches RapidScat wind watcher to Space Station

15 hours ago

A new NASA mission that will boost global monitoring of ocean winds for improved weather forecasting and climate studies is among about 5,000 pounds (2,270 kilograms) of NASA science investigations and cargo ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Royale
not rated yet Apr 15, 2011
I want to hear about classified payloads sent up by other governments. Especially China, North Korea, Iran, etc. Why am I not getting that news?