A United Space Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launched a classified spy satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office from the Vandenberg Air Force Base Space Launch Complex 6. This was the first launch of a Delta IV Heavy from the West Coast. More from The Los Angeles Times.
“The Delta IV produced a thick contrail that was very obvious. The contrail stopped and the rocket resembled a semi-bright orange star. Someone not looking for the launch probably wouldn’t have noticed it. The rocket began to get near the Sun and was visible with difficulty. The Delta then produced a short, thin, white trail for a few seconds. That may have been the strap-on boosters being jettisoned,” noted Brian Webb from from a bluff overlooking highway 101 in the Summerland-Montecito area.