Delta IV rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The third time was a charm Friday, as a twice-delayed rocket carrying a spy satellite launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, but the daytime liftoff failed to provide the dramatic light show created 
by a post-sunset launch last month.

Despite the lack of aerial pyrotechnics, the United Launch Alliance rocket's smoky trail could be seen streaking across the sky around the Southland, as far away as San Bernardino County.

The Delta IV rocket was originally scheduled to launch Wednesday, but windy conditions forced a delay to Thursday, when technical issues arose that promoted another delay. The rocket was set to launch at 1 p.m. Friday, but a helium issue delayed the liftoff for about an hour.

The rocket finally shot into space at 2:11 p.m.

The rocket was carrying a National Reconnaissance Office spy satellite, with the mission dubbed NROL-47. It was the 27th NRO launch by United Launch Alliance, which is a Colorado-based aerospace partnership between Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

Space X rocket launch visible throughout Coachella Valley

On Dec. 22, Hawthorne-based SpaceX launched a rocket from Vandenberg just after sunset, creating an aerial spectacle that had thousands of people reaching for their cameras, and some wondering if they were witnessing an alien invasion. The light show was visible across the Southland and was spotted as far away as Phoenix.

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