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Classified U.S. satellite launched from Vandenberg

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — A rocket carrying a classified U.S. satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office has been launched from California.

The Atlas 5 rocket lifted off at 9:49 a.m. Wednesday and roared away into a clear sky over Vandenberg Air Force Base.

All systems were going well when the launch webcast concluded about five minutes into the flight, as is customary during such missions.

An Atlas V rocket carries the NROL-79 mission on March 1, 2017, at the Space Launch Complex-3, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Photo Credit: United Launch Alliance via AP

The satellite dubbed NROL-79 is described only as a national security payload for the NRO.

The once-secret office operates an array of intelligence-gathering satellites.

The launch was conducted by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, and the Air Force's 30th Space Wing.

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