Video feed provided by United Launch Alliance
"It was a picture perfect launch of the largest rocket to ever from the west coast of the U.S." exclaimed a spokesman for United Launch Alliance after today's liftoff of the Delta IV Heavy. "It just doesn't get any better!"
At 1:10 p.m., the 235-foot tall rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County to deliver a satellite (for unknown purposes) into orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office, the government organization that supports the U.S. intelligence community and the Department of Defense through space communication technology.
As usual, launches turn into local events that attract plenty of gawkers seeking to witness the spectacle. "Pretty much everyone from Lompoc was here!" resident Max Janatsch wrote on Twitter, linking to a photo showing a crowd-lined street outside the base.
As for future heavy rocket launches, more are likely on the horizon. United Launch Alliance Vice President Jim Sponnick said it took five years to upgrade the launch system to have heavy lift capability. A spokesperson said another one could lift off from Vandenberg in a few years.
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