Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/28/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Rocket is launching a spy satellite into space.

With minimal fanfare, the United States is preparing to launch the largest rocket in its arsenal from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California today. The Delta-IV "Heavy" rocket will loft a top-secret spy satellite payload into space. The launch should be quick, but visible for a few minutes across central and Southern California.

A Delta IV Heavy launch from Vandenburg in 2011.

A Delta IV Heavy launch from Vandenburg in 2011.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/28/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Vandenburg, spy satellite, delta IV heavy, mission, secret, southern california, Los Angeles, how to see it


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The launch is set for 11:03 am, a time when most people are working or busy with some other errand or chore, and few are outside. Under the cover of such busyness, the United Launch Alliance, which is the contractor carrying out the launch, will ignite the three boosters of a massive Delta IV rocket currently waiting on a pad nestled along a secluded California shoreline.

Once the rocket ignites, it will streak skyward with a bright exhaust plume visible for miles. It will leave behind a trail of vapor that will quickly dissipate. Those who miss the launch will notice the lingering trail, and dismiss it as a high-flying airplane.

The rocket is a triple-wide, meaning it has two large boosters strapped to its sides, akin to the space shuttle. However, this system uses no solid rocket motors, but instead is fueled by mixing hydrogen and oxygen. The shuttle used this same system, but its boosters were solid rocket motors, which produced a brighter flame and a longer exhaust trail.

This launch will be the second such launch of a Delta IV heavy from Vandenburg. Previous launches of this rocket have otherwise been at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Delta-IV rocket is the largest and most powerful one in American service today.

A Delta IV Heavy rocket launch from Vandenburg in 2011.

A Delta IV Heavy rocket launch from Vandenburg in 2011.


Launches from Vandenburg are rarer than launches from Cape Canaveral, but the site is useful because it sends payloads on an entirely different trajectory. Satellites flown from Cape Canaveral fly west to east around the globe, following the Earth's rotation and even getting a small boost from it.

Satellites launched from Vandenberg fly south to north, on circumpolar orbits. This is ideal for spy satellites which can then monitor every inch of the planet on their orbits. Spy satellites are among the most common objects flown from Vandenburg for this reason.

Launches from the secretive location are rare, but happen at least a few times annually. Normally, the rockets are smaller. Not much attention is called to the launches because of their often-secret nature.

The Delta IV being rolled out to the launch pad. This image helps covey its massive size.

The Delta IV being rolled out to the launch pad. This image helps covey its massive size.


Notably, the Delta IV launch pad was originally built for the space shuttle, however the shuttle never flew from that site.

Also notably, the rocket will fly at a time when the United States is on the brink of military conflict with Syria and at odds with other powerful nations because of it. Although the rocket was scheduled for launch more than a year in advance, the launch cannot also help but send a message to the world that the United States is powerful and has the tools it needs to do any job the president orders.

The Delta IV on its way to the launch pad.

The Delta IV on its way to the launch pad.


If the flight is successful and everything goes as planned, the satellite could be in operational within days of launch. However, all information regarding the launch will be blacked out within minutes of ignition because of the secret nature of the project.

Most people will see something in the Southern California sky that looks like this around 10:52 am.

Most people will see something in the Southern California sky that looks like this around 10:52 am.


Those living in Southern California should look to the Pacific Ocean in the few minutes following 11:03 am. The rocket will streak across the sky, flying upwards and to the south, southwest. no telescope or other equipment is needed, although binoculars may reveal a bit more detail to watchers.

Too far away? View the mission's progress here.

NOTE: This article has been edited to update the new launch time, which changed from 10:52 am to 11:03.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More Technology

MARK OF THE BEAST: Microchip implants in humans becoming more viable Watch

Image of Chips are already being used to manage farm animals. Farmers can track sheep, pigs and horses as they move through a gate, weigh them instantly and make sure they are eating properly.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A microchip implanted on human beings has chilling implications, conjuring up images of the "Mark of the Beast" as mentioned in the Book of revelations. Such an accessory would certainly be a boon for a totalitarian society - but there are scientists who say ... continue reading


Google, Internet search engine - branches off with DRONE DELIVERY Watch

Image of Google engineers coupled with experts on unmanned aerial vehicles, called UAVs, safely carried out more than 30 test flights this month.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The unquestioned leader of Internet search engines, Google, has branched off into a most unexpected venture. Google is now considering delivery with drone aircraft, running its first test flights earlier this month as part of "Project Wing," a secretive, ... continue reading


What are these mysterious objects found underneath Stonehenge? Watch

Image of Using underground radar and 3D imaging technology, a new study has revealed that there are numerous monuments underneath the famous Stonehenge.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

England's iconic and mysterious Stonehenge has just revealed a new mystery, as a first-of-its-kind study suggests that 15 previously undiscovered or poorly understood monuments lie hidden under the ancient monument and the surrounding countryside. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Forget the zombie apocalypse, the ROBOT APOCALYPSE is near! Watch

Image of In the future, robots will be connected through a kind of internet which will allow connected robots to gather and use information in everyday tasks.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A large scale computational system that learns from publicly available Internet resources-called Robo Brain-is currently downloading a processing about 1 billion images, 120,000 YouTube videos, and 100 million how-to documents and appliance manuals. This ... continue reading


You'll never believe what Amazon picked up for nearly $1 billion Watch

Image of Tech giant Amazon purchased the live-streaming gaming network Twitch for $970 million, beating out several rival competitors including Google.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Defeating tech rivals Google and Yahoo, Amazon purchased the live-streaming gaming network Twitch for $970 million in a move announced late on August 25 which is the largest deal in Amazon's 20-year history. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The firm raised $20 ... continue reading


China bucks American tech giant Microsoft over fears of spying Watch

Image of China is creating its own operating system after blacklisting Windows 8 from government computers over fears that the American operating system could provide avenues for intelligence agencies.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

China's state-controlled Xinhua News Agency announced that China is developing their own operating system for desktop computers and mobile devices, citing U.S. surveillance as one of the key factors. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - China intends the new ... continue reading


Robots with an internet of their own! This is the way of the future Watch

Image of In the future, robots will be connected through a kind of internet which will allow connected robots to gather and use information in everyday tasks.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A large scale computational system that learns from publicly available Internet resources-called Robo Brain-is currently downloading a processing about 1 billion images, 120,000 YouTube videos, and 100 million how-to documents and appliance manuals. This ... continue reading


A confident Ballmer leaves Microsoft 'completely' to run the Clippers Watch

Image of Steve Ballmer has left all positions of authority at Microsoft, leaving behind the tech giant to run the Los Angeles Clippers, for which Ballmer paid a record $2 billion.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Eight months after he ended his role as Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer resigned from Microsoft's board, a move that ends more than three decades of direct involvement in the world's largest software maker. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The 58-year-old, who ... continue reading


Why did NASA turn the cameras off? Live feed from Space Station shows UFO, NASA cuts the feed Watch

Image of Is this evidence of a UFO? Or perhaps just venting gasses or debris from the ISS?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fans of the International Space Station got an eyeful recently when an alleged UFO appeared on NASA's live feed from the station. Curiously, the feed was interrupted as soon as the object appeared fueling rumors that NASA is engaged in a cover-up. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Have you been hacked? New report says millions of personal information has been stolen Watch

Image of Russian hackers recently gathered customer individuals from more than 420,000 websites.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Russian hackers gathered information from over 420,000 websites, both smaller sites and "household name" sites, in an attempt to gather passwords to send out spam. LOS ANGLES, CA (Catholic Online) - Hold Security, a Milwaukee-based firm, discovered the theft but ... continue reading


All Technology News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 2:1-5
1 Now when I came to you, brothers, I did not come ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102
97 How I love your Law! I ponder it all day ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-30
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 1st, 2014 Image

St. Giles, Abbot
September 1: St. Giles, Abbot (Patron of Physically Disabled) Feast day - ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter