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Wow! A mysterious rocket launch from the Central Coast creates a spectacular show at dusk

Spectacular! A rocket launch from the Central Coast creates a show in the sky at dusk which was seen for hundreds of miles.
Lance Orozco
Spectacular! A rocket launch

It was a military mission designed to test the ability to launch a payload into space on short notice.

Maybe you saw it. A rocket launch from the Central Coast at dusk Thursday night was seen as far away as Arizona.

A Firefly Aerospace Alpha rocket took off from Vandenberg Space Force Base at 7:28 p.m.

People reported seeing it as far away as San Diego, and Phoenix.

Details of the launch weren't released. But, the company said that it had a rocket standing by at the base for a Defense Department test to see how quickly a payload could be prepared for launch, and then launched.

It's only the third flight of one of the two-stage Alpha rockets. The first was a failure, and the second didn't get its payload into a full low earth orbit as planned.

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.