Navigation satellites, communications spacecraft, classified missions, NASA science projects and the Orbital Sciences Cygnus cargo ship destined for the International Space Station are on the United Launch Alliance manifest for the new year.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket put on a display of power, sound and light Friday evening at Vandenberg Air Force Base in launching a clandestine national security payload, then successfully debuted a new upper stage engine as it flew over the horizon.
The United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket unleashed two million pounds of thrust at 7:19 p.m. PST (10:19 p.m. EST) on Dec. 12 to blast off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on the NROL-35 mission. See photos of the launch from the press viewing site.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket lifted off Friday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California with a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office. Launch occurred at 7:19 p.m. PST (10:19 p.m. EST; 0319 GMT).