Santa Maria - North County

Late night launch from Vandenberg captivates residents

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE - Vandenberg Air Force Base is celebrating Saturday night's successful launch of an Atlas V rocket.

The rocket took off from Space Launch Complex-3 at around 10:50 p.m. The rocket was carrying a National Reconnaissance Office payload to assist with national security. 

United Launch Alliance was responsible for the launch. It is their sixth launch in 2017.

The launch was postponed due to Hurricane Irma and again postponed because a battery needed to be replaced.

Thanks to the late launch time and clear skies, the rocket's large fireball could be seen from miles away. 

We received multiple calls and emails from people who could see the launch, some speculating it could be a meteor or possibly a UFO. 

Another launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 4. The Falcon 9 launch is scheduled for around 6 a.m. before sunrise and may also be visible throughout the area.

For a list of planned launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base, click here.

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