OK, fess up! Which of you guys launched a rocket off the coast of Southern California last night? /– Mystery Missile Launches Off Southern California Coast, Military Says ‘Not Us’ – Popular Science /– Whose Missile Was Launched 35 Miles West of Los Angeles? – IEEE Spectrum
[Update: Here’s a video showing the contrail of the rocket:
[Update 2: It’s probably just a jet contrail: Missile launch over Southern California explained – Los Angeles Weather – Examiner.com. ] === Speaking of missiles, Orbital Sciences continues to make a good business out of launching missile defense targets: Orbital Successfully Launches Medium Range Target for Joint U.S./Japan Missile Defense Test: Ninth Consecutive Successful MRT Mission Supports Japanese Aegis BMD Test – Orbital – Oct.29.10.
I see that they have the option of using air launching technique similar to what AirLaunch LLC planned to do with a rocket for going to orbit:
> Its first flight occurred in April 2005 and demonstrated the air-launch mission capability. For that mission, the target vehicle was extracted and descended from a C-17 cargo aircraft via a parachute system, an operational methodology necessary to support U.S. Army Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) tests.