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Rocket With U.S. Spy Satellite Payload Successfully Launches From Vandenberg Air Force Base

A rocket carrying a national security satellite successfully launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base Friday afternoon following multiple delays earlier in the week.

The United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket with a National Reconnaissance Office payload was originally set to launch Wednesday but was then rescheduled for Thursday, when it was delayed multiple times and ultimately scrubbed due to a ground system valve problem.

It finally launched at 2:11 p.m. Friday after a single delay following an initial 1 p.m. launch time.

Mission NROL-47 took off at Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex-6 near the Pacific Ocean, about 10 miles west of Lompoc and 140 miles west-northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

NROL-47 marks United Launch Alliance’s 27th launch for the federal National Reconnaissance Office, and the 36th flight for a Delta IV rocket since the first in 2002, according to the company’s website.

United Launch Alliance, headquartered in Denver, is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and the Boeing Co. It performs launch services for the U.S. government at Vandenberg and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Friday’s launch comes three weeks after the spectacular SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex-4. Traveling across Southern California skies at dusk, the rocket’s giant trail prompted immediate, intense speculation by those who didn’t know what it was.

The SpaceX launch was visible from Arizona. It was not immediately clear if Friday’s daytime launch presented such a spectacle, though some social media posts showed the rocket’s trail through blue skies.

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