The mobile service tower retracts from the Atlas 5 rocket, revealing the 191-foot-tall vehicle for liftoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, carrying the classified NROL-79 national security payload for the U.S. government.
Follow the unclassified portion of the Atlas 5 rocket’s ascent to space from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base launch site with the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office’s NROL-79 satellite payload. Launch is scheduled for Wednesday at 9:50 a.m. local time (12:50 p.m. EST; 1750 GMT).
The United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket stands atop Space Launch Complex 3-East at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on the eve of Wednesday’s NROL-79 satellite-deployment mission for the National Reconnaissance Office.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 9:49:51 a.m. local time (12:49:51 p.m. EST; 1749:51 today to deploy a covert U.S. national security payload. Follow the ascent in our live journal.
The ocean-sailing ship that transports rocket stages from United Launch Alliance’s factory to U.S. launch sites completed its latest voyage overnight, pulling into port to deliver the Atlas 5 that will send a cargo freighter to the International Space Station in March.