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Top-secret spy satellite launches from Vandenberg

A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Medium rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base Friday afternoon carrying a classified spy satellite.
A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Medium rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base Friday afternoon carrying a classified spy satellite. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

A Delta IV rocket soared away from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday afternoon, en route to delivering its clandestine cargo into space.

It was the West Coast’s first mission of 2018.

The United Launch Alliance rocket, at a height of 217 feet, blasted off at 2:11 p.m. from Space Launch Complex-6 near the southern edge of the base.

The space booster carried a top-secret spacecraft for the National Reconnaissance Office for a mission dubbed NROL-47.

Due to the payload’s classified nature, officials have remained mum about its purpose, cost and status.

The launch broadcast cut off after the rocket jettisoned the nosecone approximately 3 minutes after liftoff, preventing the public from knowing whether the payload separated from the rocket.

“It’s a national security payload and this mission will ensure the warfighters across the globe have the appropriate intel that they need to support operations,” said Maj. Allen Varghese, 4th Space Launch Squadron director of operations.

The NRO mission patch sports Latin words that translated into “Evil will never prevail,” a ULA representative said.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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