Saturday, March 17 , 2018, 4:54 am | Fair 46º


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Atlas 5 Rocket Launches from Vandenberg AFB

The rocket, carrying a classified payload into orbit, is the 25th sent out from the base

An Atlas 5 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base’s Space Complex 3 about 9:25 p.m. Thursday.

The classified payload is designated at NROL-34 by the National Reconnaissance Office.

The Atlas rocket is the 25th to be launched from Vandenberg. This particular Atlas configuration uses a single rocket booster, producing 1.2 million pounds of thrust for a 90-second burn before the booster separates from the main body. The main rocket then burns for four minutes before separating from the Centaur upper stage, which carries the payload.

This United Launch Alliance Atlas 5-411 rocket has flown successfully twice before, once from Cape Canaveral and once from Vandenberg Air Force Base. Vandenberg’s 4th Space Squadron managed the launch.

— Anthony Galván III is a Noozhawk reader. More of his photography can be viewed at

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