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It could be a spectacular sight! Launch of massive rocket with secret payload set for Central Coast

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A 2019 Delta IV Heavy rocket launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base.

United Launch Alliance is targeting Saturday afternoon launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base.

The launch of a massive rocket with a secret military payload could create a spectacular sight for people in the Tri-Counties this weekend.

The United Launch Alliance has targeted a 2:53 p.m. launch Saturday for a Delta IV Heavy rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base. It's carrying an undisclosed payload for the National Reconnaissance Office.

The 233 foot high rocket will carry nearly half a million gallons of liquid hydrogen and oxygen.

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United Launch Alliance officials say if the weather cooperates, people in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo should be able to see the rocket about 90 seconds after liftoff. About two minutes after it takes off, it should be visible in Ventura County.

Once the rocket passes 33,000 feet, its white contrail should be visible for at least 100 miles away.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.