SEARCH

News » International

Updated: January 21, 2011 08:53 IST

Classified satellite launched from California base

PTI
print   ·   T  T  
The 235-foot-tall Delta IV Heavy Launch Vehicle rockets upwards, carrying a payload for the U.S' National Reconnaissance Office. Photo: AP
AP The 235-foot-tall Delta IV Heavy Launch Vehicle rockets upwards, carrying a payload for the U.S' National Reconnaissance Office. Photo: AP

No details were released, but the 71.63-metre-tall rocket carried a payload for the U.S.' National Reconnaissance Office, which operates satellites that provide information to the Central Intelligence Agency and Department of Defence.

The largest rocket ever launched from the West Coast blasted off today with a classified defence satellite on board.

The 71.63-metre tall Delta IV Heavy Launch Vehicle lifted off at 1:10 pm (local time) carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office.

The booster rose into the sky over California’s central coast and arced over the Pacific Ocean, a spectacle visible over a wide area.

United Launch Alliance, the joint venture of rocket builders Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co, said in a statement that the launch was a success.

The launch was pushed back two minutes to avoid an object in space that could have been in the path of the rocket, said Michael J Rein, a ULA spokesman.

No payload details were released. The NRO operates satellites that provide information to the Central Intelligence Agency and Department of Defence.

This was the fifth launch of a Delta IV but the first from the West Coast. The other four launches were at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Capable of generating nearly 0.91 million kilograms of thrust, the liquid-fuel rocket has a central core booster and two strap-on boosters that make the assembly 15.24 meters wide. An upper second stage takes over when the first stage is exhausted.

Preparing for the launch took three years and $ 100 million in infrastructure upgrades at Vandenberg, 209 kilometres northwest of Los Angeles.

The launch director, Lt Col Brady Hauboldt, said in a statement before the liftoff that the launch would mark a milestone by restoring heavy lift capability in the nation’s western range. The last heavy lift Titan IV-B was launched at Vandenberg in 2005.

In its past, the launch complex was once configured for West Coast space shuttle launches, which were cancelled after the 1986 Challenger disaster, and the Air Force’s Manned Orbiting Laboratory programme, which was cancelled in 1969. It was last used in 2006.

More In: International | News
The Hindu presents the all-new Young World

An act that triggered a World War

A century ago this day, a double murder carried out by a group of Bosnian assassins became a historic event. »  

National

Business

Cricket

Sport


O
P
E
N

close

Recent Article in International

Netherlands collects data to identify victims in Ukraine

Forensic teams fanned out across the Netherlands on Saturday to collect material including DNA samples that will help positively iden... »