Re: Mystery Launch

From: Brian Webb (
Date: Wed Nov 10 2010 - 02:57:50 UTC

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    Good Evening:
    Here is my input regarding the event that was recorded yesterday afternoon:
    I follow rocket and missile launches from Vandenberg AFB. The fact that I
    did not mention yesterday's event in my newsletter or on my Web site is not
    proof that a launch did not occur.
    In my opinion, the event was one of the following:
       - A jet contrail.
       - A missile launch.
    The airspace off of the California coast is among the busiest in the U.S.
    Aircraft contrails form in a region called the contrail zone. In southern
    California, this zone lies approximately between 33,000 and 38,000 feet.
    During the cooler months of the year, this region drops down in altitude to
    the area where many jets fly. This causes the large number contrails seen
    here during the cooler months.
    Depending on an observer's perspective, a horizontal contrail can appear to
    be climbing steeply and resemble a rocket or missile trail.
    Although many people know that Vandenberg Air Force Base on California's
    Central Coast is a rocket and missile launch site, many are unaware that
    missiles are also launched from the Navy's sea range which consists of a
    large swath of coastal waters adjacent to Los Angeles and Ventura County.
    The coast and islands are equipped with radar tracking, telemetry
    collection, and other assets.
    The range is used to test military aircraft, missiles, and systems for the
    U.S. military and foreign navies.
    Small- and medium-sized missiles and rockets are launched within the sea
    range from San Nicolas Island, ships and submarines at sea, and sometimes on
    shore from Point Mugu.
    There have been reports in the media that the military was asked, but was
    not aware of any launches from the area yesterday. The fact that the
    military was not familiar with the event is not proof that it wasn't a
    missile launch or that it is being covered-up.
    The news media probably contacted a public affairs office to inquire about
    the event. To obtain a reliable answer, the media would have to contact
    public affairs for the correct facility or agency. Even if they did so, it
    is entirely possible that the public affairs person could not determine who
    to contact or did not contact the right organization. The people who would
    know about yesterday's activity are the Range Control office at point Mugu.
    When the U.S. military schedules an operation, safety is very important and
    they always issue a Notice to Airmen and a Notice to Mariners. Even if an
    operation is hush-hush, they still issue the appropriate notices.
    According to some reports reports, there were No Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs)
    or Notices to Mariners telling aircraft and ships to stay away. In order the
    find a military issued Notice to Airmen, you have to know which web site to
    go to and how to perform a search. Furthermore, once an operation is
    finished, the applicable NOTAM (airspace closure) is cancelled and may
    disappear from the Internet.
    The fact that a NOTAM cannot be found for that area for yesterday does not
    mean it wasn't a launch and it does not provide evidence of a cover-up.
    By the way, I saw a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) today that said a military
    operation was scheduled for this afternoon in about the same area from sea
    level to 39,000 feet.
    I took a quick look at the news helicopter video and to me it looked the
    launch of a small- or medium-sized solid fuel missile.
    Brian Webb
    It is being reported that the military has no information regarding a
    missile launch.
    That does not mean that somebody in the military does not know what it was.
    It doesn't mean the event is secret. The U.S. military is a stickler about
    warning the public when they are going to conduct a potentially hazardous
    Back during the Vietnam War when the U.S. was bombing the North, the U.S.
    reportedly would issue warnings (Notice to Airmen or NOTAMs) to advise
    international air traffic to stay clear of Hanoi and other target areas.
    It could very well mean that the person in public affairs who handled the
    media query did not know who to contact.
    If this was a launch from the sea range off of Point Mugu, Naval Base
    Ventura County would be the people who scheduled use of the range and also
    requested that the ocean and airspace in the area be closed off.
    Specifically, it would be Point Mugu Range Control who made the request.
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