The skies over northern Santa Barbara County lit up with some spectacular tell-tale contrails of a missile launch earlier this week after a top-secret Vandenberg Air Force Base operation. Just after 8 p.m. Tuesday night, a 20-story-tall Delta 4 rocket blasted off for outer space to deliver a super-secret spy satellite into orbit at the behest of the government’s National Reconnaissance Office. The launch marked the first West Coast mission for the new-fangled Delta 4, which was developed as part of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program, a government-sanctioned attempt to reduce the costs and various difficulties of getting satellites into orbit.

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