A United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral on Wednesday night with the U.S. Air Force’s eighth Wideband Global SATCOM communications satellite, lighting up the sky in these images taken from the nearby Kennedy Space Center press site.
The Delta 4 launched at 6:53 p.m. EST (2353 GMT) from Complex 37B at Cape Canaveral, turning east over the Atlantic Ocean and powering into orbit before successfully deploying the Boeing-built WGS 8 spacecraft.
These photos show the rocket clearing the launch pad, pitching east, climbing through a near-transparent cloud layer, then shedding its four solid rocket boosters to tumble back into the Atlantic. The final image — a multi-second exposure — shows the upper stage’s RL10 engine continuing the journey into orbit downrange from Florida’s Space Coast.
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