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Delta IV Heavy Blasts off From California

In an impressive show of rocket power, a United Space Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launched on Thursday afternoon with a classified spy satellite from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. This was the first launch of a Delta IV Heavy from Vandenberg, and was the largest rocket to ever launch from the west coast of the U.S. The satellite is for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. Although not many details were released about the NROL-49 satellite, analysts say it is capable of snapping pictures so detailed it can distinguish the make and model of an automobile thousands of miles below.

With its nearly 2 millions pounds of thrust, the Delta IV Heavy is currently America’s most powerful liquid fueled rocket.


Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • gss_000 January 20, 2011, 9:17 PM

    That’s United Launch Alliance, not United Space Alliance. It’s a different Boeing/Lockheed Martin joint venture.

  • TerryG January 21, 2011, 4:55 AM

    Good work California. Nice to see Space Launch Complex-6 getting some use.

    For a recent story about the early history of Space Launch Complex-6 including images of Space Shuttle Enterprise siting on the pad try this…


  • Uncle Fred January 21, 2011, 10:57 PM

    The US military industrial complex at work again – showing the world by example that mistrust, espionage, and spending enormous amounts of money at the nation’s general expense is ok.