Soaring in fine fashion before daybreak, a United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket maneuvered a new spy satellite into a unique retrograde orbit Wednesday morning to join an expanding constellation of radar-imaging spacecraft.
The main engine rumbling to life. Ice shards breaking free. The rocket lumbering off the pad. The battle against gravity being won once again. That was the scene as the Atlas 5 took flight to cap a generation of Global Positioning System satellites.