A rocket carrying a U.S. national defense payload was successfully launched from California before dawn Wednesday, the Air Force said.
The Delta IV rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 3:40 a.m. The rocket's flight toward space was visible from the greater Los Angeles area more than 100 miles away as high pressure swept skies clear.
The rocket carried a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, which operates the nation's system of intelligence-gathering satellites. The agency didn't release any details about the payload.
The mission, designated NROL-45, was in support of national defense, said United Launch Alliance, the launch provider.