The Delta IV Heavy rocket launches into space Wednesday from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.© United Launch Alliance
The rocket carried “a massive, top-secret spy satellite" into space.© United Launch Alliance
The Delta rocket, seen here before its launch, is more than 21 stories tall.© United Launch Alliance
originally posted at 20:39
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WASHINGTON, August 28 (RIA Novosti) – A giant rocket more than 21 stories tall launched into space Wednesday from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, on a covert mission for the US government’s National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).
Blastoff occurred at 2:03 p.m. EDT (1803 GMT) on Wednesday, and marks only the second time the Delta IV Heavy rocket has been launched from the base.
"There's nothing bigger that the United States launches – period – in any way, shape or form, and that is absolutely amazing," said Lt. Col. Jim Bodnar, commander of the 4th Space Launch Squadron at Vandenberg, in a press release.
The massive rocket is carrying “a massive, top-secret spy satellite” that analysts say “is probably a $1-billion high-powered spy satellite capable of snapping pictures detailed enough to distinguish the make and model of an automobile hundreds of miles below,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
“The mission of the payload being launched today is classified so we cannot provide additional details,” said an NRO spokeswoman in an email to RIA Novosti.
The launch used three main engines each powered with liquid hydrogen and oxygen, according to United Launch Alliance (ULA), which built the rocket.
It also utilized a new strategy designed to reduce the flames produced during liftoff by lighting one engine just two seconds before the other two, according to space news site Spaceflight Now.
ULA is a joint venture of aerospace firms Lockheed Martin and the Boeing Company.
Updated with information that the rocket has been launched
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- Mikhail1228More Equipment to Spy on ordinary citizens!21:24, 28/08/2013More Equipment to Spy on ordinary citizens!
- checkinBiggest Rocket in US Launched Wednesday09:24, 29/08/2013A camera to identify make and model of some car? C-mon', if you believe that, I've got a bridge to sell you. Reading the plate on a car is technology over 40 years old, at least. It's more likely a space-based weapons platform developed by DARPA. Something like a Neutral Particle Beam or X-ray laser; certainly not nukes! Whatever it is, I'm sure it goes against at least one or more protocols or treaties limiting the use of outer space for WMDs.
So now I'm just wondering, could its first test be directed at Syria? America's plagued by the same dynamics that doomed past empires and it's heading for full-blown tyranny and ruin. It's permanently at war. It's become the most secretive, intrusive, repressive government in US history. But whatever the Air Force launched, it has this reader worried.
- LocoIvanNuts!15:33, 29/08/2013‘Whatever it is, I'm sure it goes against at least one or more protocols or treaties limiting the use of outer space for WMDs.’
Of course! This launch goes against all treaties of human kind!
I’m sure this is based on your delusional hypothetical paranoid speculation grounded in the absurd.
Moreover, at least the Americans do not have the ‘three stooges’ managing their Rocket program at Lockheed Martin and the Boeing Company.
Can’t say the same for Rogozin’s three senior managers who were CANNED for “inappropriate fulfillment of duties during the production and preparation of the Proton-M.”(RIANovosti;23/08/13)
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