Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"Mystery Missile" Launch Off California Coast?

Had this forwarded to me by a friend. I'm usually on top of these things, at least if they're scheduled. Even the "Secret" launches from Vandenberg have things like NOTAMS published, and the PIO office will give a window during which launch activities can be expected.
This is just bizarre, though!
Mystery Missile Launch Seen off Calif. Coast





****UPDATE****

Turns out there was a NOTAM after all....
NOTAM for LA.
KZLA LOS ANGELES A2832/10 - THE FOLLOWING RESTRICTIONS ARE REQUIRED DUE TO NAVAL AIR WARFARE CENTER WEAPONS DIVISION ACTIVATION OF W537. IN THE INTEREST OF SAFETY, ALL NON-PARTICIPATING PILOTS ARE ADVISED TO AVOID W537. IFR TRAFFIC UNDER ATC JURISDICTION SHOULD ANTICIPATE CLEARANCE AROUND W537 AND CAE 1176. CAE 1155 WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR OCEANIC TRANSITION. CAE 1316 & CAE 1318 WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR OCEANIC TRANSITION. CAE 1177 WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR OCEANIC TRANSITION. W537 ACTIVE, CAE 1176 CLOSED. SURFACE - FL390, 09 NOV 20:00 2010 UNTIL 10 NOV 01:00 2010. CREATED: 08 NOV 20:52 201

The "Naval Air Warfare Center" folks are my old buddies at Point Mugu/China Lake.

Now I'm wondering just how long it will be before the tin-foil-hat-crowd claim the NOTAM was faked, and this was a "Chemtrail" rocket, alien visitation, North Korean/Iranian/Rogue Russian missile, or something else....


***UPDATE 2***

I just realized the NOTAM is for tonight.
Curiouser and curiouser.....


The Market Ticker brings up some good points....

Here's some links I've dug up discussing what it might be.
L.A. Times

Wired

Fox

Space.com

(Groan) Slashdot

NasaSpaceflight.com

Some of the guys at Nasaspaceflight.com seem to think it's either an optical illusion of an airliner contrail (it's happened before), or a solid-fuel rocket launched from San Nicolas Island. San Nicolas has quite a history of being a launch site for sounding rockets and other 'non-airbreathers'.
These guys know their stuff. If one of them says "contrail", I'd be tempted to start looking in that direction.

And another view from the IEEE, also very good, and also pointed to a contrail.

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