Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 21° Partly Cloudy
News >  Nation

U.S. spy satellite launched into orbit from California

UPDATED: Sat., Jan. 19, 2019

A powerful Delta 4 Heavy rocket carrying a U.S. spy satellite lifts off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Calif., Saturday, on Jan. 19, 2019. The rocket propelled the National Reconnaissance Office satellite at 11:10 a.m. Pacific time, arcing over the Pacific Ocean west of Los Angeles as it headed toward space. The United Launch Alliance Delta 4 Heavy is made up of 3 rocket cores strapped together producing almost 2.2 million pounds of thrust at lift-off. (Matt Hartman / AP)
A powerful Delta 4 Heavy rocket carrying a U.S. spy satellite lifts off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Calif., Saturday, on Jan. 19, 2019. The rocket propelled the National Reconnaissance Office satellite at 11:10 a.m. Pacific time, arcing over the Pacific Ocean west of Los Angeles as it headed toward space. The United Launch Alliance Delta 4 Heavy is made up of 3 rocket cores strapped together producing almost 2.2 million pounds of thrust at lift-off. (Matt Hartman / AP)
Associated Press

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – A powerful Delta 4 Heavy rocket carrying a U.S. spy satellite lifted off Saturday from California.

The rocket propelled the National Reconnaissance Office satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 11:10 a.m. Pacific time, arcing over the Pacific Ocean west of Los Angeles as it headed toward space.

The outer boosters of the rocket separated about four minutes into flight, followed shortly by separation of the central first-stage booster and successful ignition of the upper stage.

As is customary with classified payloads, United Launch Alliance webcast the liftoff only until the aerodynamic fairing covering the payload was discarded.

Details of the mission, dubbed NROL-71, were not released.

The launch had been repeatedly delayed since late last year for various reasons including a hydrogen leak, high winds and a problem with ground communication equipment.

The National Reconnaissance Office is responsible for U.S. intelligence satellites.

United Launch Alliance is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

The Delta 4 Heavy stands 233 feet tall.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.