Atlas V With Four Solid Motors Lights Up California Coast

An Atlas V with four solid rocket motors lifts off at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday, Dec. 12. (Photo: United Launch Alliance, LLC)

An Atlas V rocket launched successfully from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday evening.

Ray Johnson, Vice President, Space Launch Operations, reported: “An Atlas V with its [national security] satellite successfully launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday evening. After delaying one day because of severe weather, the vehicle lifted off of SLC-3E at 7:19 p.m. PST.

“This was the first Atlas V from Vandenberg to use four strap-on solid motors, which made it particularly bright as it flew down the California coast. After spacecraft separation, this mission also performed a third burn of the Centaur upper stage to reenter the upper stage for breakup and disposal. All phases of the mission were successfully completed, and there were no flight anomalies. Congratulations to the entire Atlas and NSG team for successfully completing this very challenging mission.”