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Local News

VAFB Launches Delta IV Rocket, the Largest Ever for the West Coast

Column of smoke could be seen throughout Santa Barbara County

Thursday afternoon’s blue sky was broken up with a streak of white as Vandenberg Air Force Base launched a Delta IV, the largest rocket ever sent from the West Coast.

The rocket went up about 1:10 p.m., and the column of smoke it left behind was visible throughout Santa Barbara County.

Preparing the facility for the launch took three years and $100 million in infrastructure improvements, according to VAFB officials.

The Delta IV Heavy Launch Vehicle, made by Boeing, can handle missions for the government or commercial launches, and this particular one is carrying a national security payload for the National Reconnaissance Office.

At 125 feet, 9 inches tall, the rocket weighs 511,190 pounds, making it the most powerful rocket Vandenberg has ever launched. The Delta IVs can carry their payloads — Defense Department Global Positioning Systems and satellites — 100 nautical miles into space.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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