Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Alright... who pushed the red button????

Mysterious missile launched off the California coast... but no one owns up to firing it

Last updated at 9:20 PM on 9th November 2010
The Pentagon is investigating a deepening mystery over a rocket that lit up the sky off the California coast. 
TV footage appears to show a missile shooting into the sunset, leaving an unmistakable trail over the Pacific Ocean. 
But bemused US military officials were claiming today that they had no clue how it happened.
A mystery missile launch off the coast of California.
Mysterious: Authorities have been left baffled as to who launched a missile off the coast of Southern California yesterday

A mystery missile launch off the coast of California.
Amazing image: The contrail was seen from Los Angeles and miles around but no ownership has yet been made to the launch which lit up the sky yesterday
Spokesmen for the Navy, Air Force, the Defence Department and North American Aerospace Defence Command all said they were in the dark. 
Pentagon spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan said: ‘Nobody within the Department of Defense that we’ve reached out to has been able to explain what this contrail is and where it came from.
'So far, we’ve come up empty with an explanation,’ he added. 
Military officials said it was possible a private company may have been behind the incident.
A mystery missile launch off the coast of California.
Off the coast: The location of the missile was said to be west of Los Angeles, north of Catalina Island, and approximately 35 miles out to sea
Judging from the images, the rocket looked to be within sight of a passenger jet flying out of nearby Los Angeles Airport. 
Colonel Lapan said an official missile test would usually involve air space being closed off and a notification to all shipping in the area. But there was no advance notice of the event. 
He added: ‘At this point, until we know more information about what it may have been, there is not alarm. But that could change depending on what we find out.'
He said it was ‘implausible’ that the test could be carried out so near to the airport. 
The video was captured on Monday evening about 5pm by a news helicopter flying over Los Angeles.
A mystery missile launch off the coast of California.
Not ours: Vandenberg Air Force based confirmed they launched a Delta II rocket on Friday but was not responsible for yesterday's missile
The contrail was about 35 miles out to sea, just north of Catalina, a small island about 20 miles from the mainland. 
The initial thought was that it must have been fired from a US Navy vessel offshore, but the Pentagon said that was not the case. 
Nearby Vandenberg Air Force Base confirmed it fired a Delta II rocket carrying a satellite last Friday, but had not authorised or carried out any launches since then.
Robert Ellsworth, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and a former Deputy Secretary of Defence, said after seeing the video: ‘It’s spectacular. It takes the breath away.’
A mystery missile launch off the coast of California.
Plane crazy: The missile launch appeared to get close to an aircraft from nearby LAX airport 
He called it a ‘big missile’, larger than a Tomahawk missile, which can be fireed from a submerged submarine.
With President Obama currently on a 10-day tour of Asia, he speculated it may have been the US military showing off their muscle to Far Eastern leaders. 
He said: 'It could be a test firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile from an underwater submarine to demonstrate, mainly to Asia, that we can do that.'
But he was quick to point out that this was just a theory. 
He also revealed that a test missile was fired over the Atlantic to demonstrate America's power to the Soviets when there was a Soviet Union, but doesn't believe it has ever been done over the Pacific.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, issued a statement jointly with the U.S. Northern Command, or NORTHCOM, saying that the contrail was not the result of a foreign military launching a missile. It provided no further details. 
The statement said: 'We can confirm that there is no threat to our nation, and from all indications this was not a launch by a foreign military. We will provide more information as it becomes available.'

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