Rocket carrying spy satellite launches from Calif. (video)

Launch of Worlds Largest Rocket - The Delta IV Heavy with NROL-65 Onboard
67152 full

More videos below »

A huge rocket carrying a spy satellite for the United States has launched from the central California coast.

United Launch Alliance says liftoff occurred Wednesday morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base, about 150 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

The 23-story Delta IV Heavy — the largest rocket in the country — carried a satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office, which operates the nation's system of intelligence-gathering satellites.

Since the mission is classified, no other details were available.

Residents from all over the region turned their cameras skyward and captured some amazing images of the launch from the ground.

In one short clip, a YouTube user captured the rocket as it left its contrail behind, pressing upward as a single point of light like a star ascending:

Another YouTube clip shows the contrail forming above a woman's house as she and her family watch:

This was the second time this type of rocket has launched from the West Coast base. The first occurred in 2011 and shook the nearby city of Lompoc. Some spectators reported hearing the rocket's roar from 50 miles away.

For the latest launch, base officials closed a nearby beach as a precaution.

With contributions by Brian Frank

blog comments powered by Disqus