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Government rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base

A rocket carrying a secret U.S. government payload successfully launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the central California coast Thursday night, Dec. 5, 2013.
December 6, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A rocket carrying a secret U.S. government payload successfully launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the central California coast Thursday night.

The 19-story Atlas V rocket blasted off at 11:15 p.m. toward a low-Earth orbit. The rocket is carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office. The agency, which operates intelligence-gathering satellites, did not release details about the cargo.

The recent swath of cold weather in California threatened a delay for the launch, but it took off during its launch window, marking the second time an Atlas V rocket has launched from the West Coast this year.

Atlas V rockets have launched 77 times from the Vandenberg base and from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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