Atlas V Rocket Launch Creates Spectacular Night Sky Display

The Atlas V rocket launch gave Florida residents a spectacle to see in the early Wednesday morning sky.

As the Orlando Sentinel reported, the Atlas V that launched with relatively no early public notice in the early hours of Wednesday was “carrying a Navy communications satellite” into space.

The spectacular sky display that followed the launch was seen by Florida residents in far-reaching areas of the state. The event was so unexpected that the National Weather Service office in Miami posted a tweet on its official Twitter page clarifying that what residents were seeing “was the Atlas 5 rocket launch from Cape Canaveral, not a meteor.”

The trail of pluming smoke left behind from the Atlas V rocket launch was illuminated by the early hours of sunrise, creating a multi-colored spectacular display that compelled people throughout Florida to take pics and video clips of the amazing scene.

Minutes later, Twitter and Facebook were flooded with photos and videos of the launch and the picturesque display the Atlas V rocket left behind. The hashtag #atlasv continued to trend on Twitter in Florida hours after the Atlas V launch was deemed successful.

Some of the photos showed a comet-like display, with an oval of plume moving forward and a tail following from behind.

Other photos showed the scattered plumes in illuminated and colored by the early rays of the rising sun.

An earlier launch of an Atlas V rocket also resulted in a beautiful display in the Florida night sky.

USA Today reported that the 21-story Atlas V rocket, manufactured by the United Launch Alliance, was launched at 6:18 a.m. Eastern Time after a delay of 19 minutes caused due to a technical problem.

The Atlas V rocket required 2.5 million pounds of thrust to lift off from Launch Complex 41.

The Navy satellite equipment the Atlas V was carrying was the $7.6 billion Mobile User Objective System (MUOS).

“The system is designed to help troops on the move and in combat make secure calls and send texts, video, or other mission data, enabling hand-held radios in the field to work much like smartphones,” the USA Today report stated.

The MUOS will not be fully operational immediately, however, and will require more work until it becomes fully functional by 2017.

The latest satellite the Atlas V carried to space is the fourth of five satellites in the MUOS program.

[Photo by Ealasaid]