Atlas 5, Vandenberg AFB, CA

April 14, 2011, 9:24 pm PDT

Atlas 5 heavy lifts off from Vandenberg's Space Complex 3.

Exposure: 93 seconds @ f/3.5
ISO 100
Camera/Lens: Nikon D80, DSLR, Nikon 18-200mm.
Location: Goleta, California.

An Atlas 5 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base’s Space Complex 3 Thursday evening at 9:24 PDT. The classified payload is designated at NROL-34 by the National Reconnaissance Office. The Atlas rocket is the 25th to be launched from Vandenberg.

This particular Atlas configuration uses a single rocket booster, producing 1.2 million pounds of thrust for a 90 second burn before the booster separates from the main body. The main rocket then burns four minutes before it separated from the Centaur upper stage which carries the payload. This United Launch Alliance Atlas 5-411 rocket has flown successfully twice before, once from Cape Canaveral and once from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Vandenberg’s 4th Space Squadron managed the launch.

This 93 second time exposure shows the rocket flying above the constellation Orion.

For more information contact Tony Galván.

All images © 2011, Anthony Galván III. Any use without written permission is strictly prohibited.