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Thursday Launch
updated: Dec 04, 2013, 8:24 PM

Source: Launch Alert

An Atlas V rocket carrying a national security payload is scheduled for launch from south Vandenberg AFB late on the evening of December 5.

If everything goes according to plan, the rocket will depart Space Launch Complex 3 at 23:13 PST during an unspecified launch window, head southward, and carry a classified National Reconnaissance Office payload and several small satellites into orbit.

Although liftoff is slated for 23:13 PST, weather, technical, or other problems could delay the launch for several minutes or longer. Liftoff can therefore happen at any time during the window. The launch could also be rescheduled for another evening.

The latest weather forecast calls for only a 20% probability of acceptable weather at launch time. Should the launch be delayed until late Friday evening, the probability of acceptable weather at launch time is 40%.

If the sky is clear, the launch could be visible to the naked eye as far away as San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno, and San Diego, Calif.

Under very good conditions, experienced observers with dark skies and an unobstructed horizon may be able to see the launch with the unaided eye from Petaluma and Sacramento, Calif.; Lake Tahoe; Las Vegas, Nevada; western Arizona; and northwestern Mexico.

The Moon will not affect launch viewing because it will be below the horizon and only 15% illuminated at launch time.


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