Top-Secret Rocket Launches from Calif.

The payload of a rocket sent into space was kept secret, but is likely a spy satellite.

By Chris Roberts
|  Wednesday, Apr 4, 2012  |  Updated 4:30 PM PDT
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Top-Secret Rocket Launches from Calif.

ULA

This undated file photo from United Launch Alliance shows the Delta IV rocket set to launch. The payload was kept quiet.

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What's in the rocket? Nobody can say.

A rocket with a "top-secret payload" blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Santa Barbara today, according to reports (which are not so secret. Not yet.).

Whatever it's carrying, a Delta IV rocket lifted off at 4:12 p.m. on Tuesday. The cargo is classified by the National Reconnaissance Office, according to the Associated Press.

The launch was delayed a week while engineers made the nose cone bigger and strapped on more rocket boosters for more power, accoding to reports.

Live video of the launch was also cut off three minutes before liftoff.

Why all the secrecy? The rocket likely has a weather-imaging satellite aboard, according to intelligence analysts. The satellite can see through night and through bad weather, which means that it can also zoom in to "countries of interest" with great detail, like a Google Earth on serious Cold War steroids.

Somebody's watching us from up there, all right.
 

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