Mystery missile launch off California coast
2010 11 10
By Tony Barboza and W.J. Hennigan | BellinghamHerald.com
The orange tail of vapor seemed to hurtle skyward off the coast of Los Angeles.
And it didn’t take long for the video footage of what looked like a missile, shot by a news helicopter just before sunset Monday, to set off fierce speculation about a rogue missile or a secret government rocket test.
But the curiosity over what exactly was spotted roughly 35 miles off the Southern California coast was met Tuesday only by a puzzling lack of answers from federal officials.
Video shot by a news helicopter operated by KCBS/KCAL shows a contrail ascending high into the atmosphere.
Military and aviation authorities denied any knowledge of a scheduled launch and the Pentagon said only that it was looking into a report of an "unexplained contrail," or vapor trail left by an aircraft.
Whatever it was, it never posed a threat, officials said, and there’s no evidence it was a missile.
That didn’t stop aerospace experts, news outlets and curious onlookers from snapping photos and guessing the true nature of the "mystery missile" and who may have launched it.
Was it a Intercontinental Ballistic Missile fired off in error? Not according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which monitors the continent’s airspace.
Did a submarine launch the rocket as a test? Negative.
Was it an act of aggression by a foreign government? Absolutely not, the Pentagon quickly confirmed; there had been no threat to national security.
Or maybe, as some experts suggest, it was just an optical illusion that made an aircraft’s condensation trail look like something much more menacing.
John Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org, a military policy research website, said the idea that the government would carry out a secret launch at sunset within view of millions of people, is hard to believe.
"If it were secret, we’d do it at night in Alaska where only the caribou could see it," Pike said. "It’s an airplane contrail pure and simple."
Rocket launches are a common sight in Southern California and rarely go unnoticed. And if it were a planned event, military officials should have known weeks in advance.
Perhaps no one had a better view of the alleged rocket than KCBS cameraman Gil Leyvas.
He was aboard the television station’s helicopter shooting footage of the sunset over the ocean when at about 5:15 p.m. he noticed a spiral-shaped vapor trail and zoomed in to get a better look.
The on-board camera showed a plume twisting up from the horizon and narrowing as it climbed into the sky northwest of Catalina Island, he said.
"Whatever it was, it was spinning up into the sky kind of like a spiral," he said. "It was quite a sight to see. It was spectacular."
What was that Blue Light Spiral in Norway?
Was Norway’s HAARP Facility EISCAT Responsible for the Norway Spiral?
"Norway Spiral" spotted in Queensland, Australia
Communication With 50 Nuke Missiles Dropped in ICBM Snafu
He wasn’t the only one to see it.
When Kelly Spear looked out the back window of her San Pedro home west of downtown Los Angeles to see a rising orange line on the horizon she thought it might be a rocket launch from Vandenberg Air Force base, a sight unusual enough for her to grab her telephoto lens and take a few shots.
"I told myself it was just a plane, but I really had no idea," she said. "We have a pretty expansive view, and I’ve never seen anything like that before."
Some aerospace experts who reviewed the footage said the size of the plume hinted that it was a government operation.
"It can’t belong to anyone but the military," said Marco Caceres, an analyst with Teal Group Corp., a Fairfax, Va.-based aerospace research company. The appearance of such a massive rocket contrail near military bases that are known for regularly testing missiles is unlikely to be a coincidence, Caceres said.
A more likely explanation, Caceres said: it was a mistake, perhaps a defense exercise launched by accident.
The military does, after all, operate a floating ocean platform and regularly carries out tests at San Nicolas Island, one of the Channel Islands, and Point Mugu Naval Air Station is a missile defense testing site.
All branches of the Department of Defense with rocket and missile programs reported no launches, scheduled or inadvertent, a Pentagon spokesman affirmed in a statement late Tuesday.
The Pentagon has not shed much light on what happened, but one official said an examination by multiple U.S. government agencies of radar data, satellite imagery and other sophisticated monitoring technology has turned up no conclusive evidence that a missile was fired in that vicinity and at that time.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said that FAA records showed commercial airliners were flying in the area at the time, and that most government experts were coming to the conclusion that the condensation trail was caused by an aircraft.
"The best we can tell, it was probably caused by an aircraft," the official said.
The Federal Aviation Administration did not approve any commercial space launches in the area Monday and did not receive reports of any unusual sightings from pilots, said FAA spokesman Ian Gregor.
After reports of the projectile surfaced, the agency ran radar replays of a large area west of Los Angeles and did not spot any fast-moving, unidentified targets in that area, Gregor said.
Mike Gruntman, a University of Southern California professor of Astronautics, reviewed the video but said any definitive answer on the mysterious projectile lies with the military.
The video that generated all the hoopla, he said, is so close up and of such low resolution that it’s hard to draw conclusions.
"It looks like a missile to me," he said. "But I cannot rule out that this is some kind of jet aircraft."
Article from: bellinghamherald.com
Mystery Missile Launch Seen off Calif. Coast
Video from: YouTube.com
Pentagon can’t explain apparent mystery plume off California coast
Mystery ’missile’ likely a jet contrail, says expert
The Spiral over Australia
What was that Blue Light Spiral in Norway?
Newfoundland object "not a missile" says Prime Minister’s Office
Jumbo-jet laser cannon tested against missile (Video)
Another Missile Failure?
Russian missile failure sparks "UFO frenzy" in Norway
Gates: Hawaii missile defense in place
Latest News from our Front Page
Nigel Farage (UKIP) Speech on the EU, UK & Mass Immigration
2014 03 08
UKIP Nigel Farage Spring Conference speech - 2014
Red Ice Radio:
Nigel Farage MEP - The State of the EU & The Undemocratic Treaty of Lisbon
Labour wins UK by-election as Ukip trumps Tories
The ruling coalition in the UK was dealt a blow in the latest by-election test, as the UK Independence party pushed the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats into third and fourth ...
Pentagon studying Putin’s body language to predict his behavior
2014 03 07
The Pentagon has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years so that researchers can study the body movements of foreign leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, in hopes of predicting future behavior.
An article published by USA Today reporter Ray Locker on Thursday and corroborated by documents discovered by RT provides rare insight into a scarcely-discussed military effort that ...
Pentagon Claims That Climate Change ‘Enables Terrorism’
2014 03 07
In it’s latest Quadrennial Defense Review the Pentagon has said that climate change and ’erratic’ climate will cause increased terrorist activity.
The four yearly reports highlight threats that face civilization and this years homed in on climate change causing an increase in terrorism.
It also mentioned that rises in sea levels and other issues associated with a warming planet will lead ...
Scientists Control Tiny Mechanical Probes Inside Human Cells
2014 03 07
Nanotechnology doesn’t get as much attention these days as genetic and stem cell approaches to medicine, but all three aim to target the causes of illness with greater precision and less collateral damage in the rest of the body than conventional approaches.
Nanotech breakthroughs have come more slowly than many had hoped, but a recent success shows progress toward the goal ...
Fukushima: The Ticking Nuclear Bomb. Over 800 Tons of Radioactive Material Pouring into Pacific Ocean
2014 03 07
First published by GR in October 2013
In August this column ran a piece claiming that the Pacific Ocean was being poisoned by radioactive material escaping from Fukushima, two years after the devastating tsunami and meltdown at the Japanese nuclear facility. Three months later, shocking evidence points towards a calamity situation.
Silence from the corporate media.
There is growing evidence coming from ...
|More News » |