Delta IV rocket with classified payload launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

A United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket blasts off from…

A United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket blasts off from Space Launch Complex-6 at 4:12 p.m. PDT with the classified NROL-25 national security satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office. CREDIT: Pat Corkery, United Launch Alliance

The Delta IV rocket lifted off at 4:12 p.m. from the Vandenberg Air Force Base, about 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

Since the launch involved a classified cargo for the National Reconnaissance Office, no details were immediately available about whether it was boosted to its intended orbit.

The reconnaissance office, which oversees the nation’s constellation of spy satellites, has kept mum about the purpose of the mission and directed United Launch Alliance to cut off the live broadcast three minutes after liftoff.

Intelligence analysts think the rocket carried a radar imaging satellite capable of seeing at night and through bad weather.

Source: The Associated Press; Learn more about the rocket and cargo at

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