Unexplained Missile Launch Off SoCal Coast

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Unexplained Missile Launch Off SoCal Coast

Postby Tim Hebert » Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:51 pm

Didn't know where to park this interesting story, hope this is an appropriate place.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40087187/ns/us_news-security/?GT1=43001
U.S. sees no threat in mystery 'missile'
Pentagon says it's baffled, but scientists suggest it's just a jetliner with spectacular contrail

I've witnessed a missile (ICBM) launch from Vandenberg AFB and I have to say that the incident certainly mimics what would be seen from such a launch. Obviously, per news reports, the sighting was supposedly about 35 miles off the coast of LA and Vandenberg has not acknowledged any activity on their part and their location is 150 miles north of LA.

Contrail from a jetliner? Very doubtful based upon the angle of the contrail and the pin-point brightness at the extreme beginning of the contrail suggesting an exhaust outlet.

Some speculation: Navy demonstration to China, private space contractor, accidental launch, demonstration by Chinese sub and the list goes on. Shame that it didn't happen near Big Sur!

ETA: Speculation that this was amatuer rocket enthusiasts providing for a rush hour spectacular? But the point of origin supposedly is 35 miles off the coast so this seems doubtful.

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Re: Unexplained Missile Launch Off SoCal Coast

Postby Puppetburglar » Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:39 pm

I've not heard any speculation or mention that it was a fail-safe contingency from a Navy sub. Yet, that seems most likely. Time here is spin and intrigue- even it it isn't.

If it was launched by a foreign power, which seems very unlikely (that stupid? Really?), then more than just paper is flying through the air right now.
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Re: Unexplained Missile Launch Off SoCal Coast

Postby Puppetburglar » Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:02 am

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Missile launch in California?

Postby astrophotographer » Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:08 am

Lot of interesting clips about this one.


http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/11/09/national/main7036716.shtml

When I saw the still, I thought it was just a contrail but after watching the video, I was sold it was a missile launch from an SSBN test firing a missile. I even thought I found a NOTAM setting up the area.

A2832/10 - THE FOLLOWING RESTRICTIONS ARE REQUIRED DUE TO NAVAL AIR
WARFARE CENTER WEAPONS DIVISION ACTIVATION OF W537.
IN THE INTEREST OF SAFETY, ALL NON-PARTICIPATING PILOTS
ARE ADVISED TO AVOID W537. IFR TRAFFIC UNDER ATC JURISDICTION
SHOULD ANTICIPATE CLEARANCE AROUND W537 AND CAE 1176.
CAE 1155 WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR OCEANIC TRANSITION.
CAE 1316 & CAE 1318 WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR OCEANIC TRANSITION.
CAE 1177 WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR OCEANIC TRANSITION.
W537 ACTIVE, CAE 1176 CLOSED. SURFACE - FL390, 09 NOV 20:00 2010 UNTIL 10
NOV 01:00 2010. CREATED: 08 NOV 20:52 2010

W537 is the area of the missile launch and I thought I had found a clue. I eagerly sent it to Sheaffer and Oberg (we exchanged some interesting e-mails about it). However, both caught my mistake when they pointed out the time was for 2000 GMT today and would not work since it was yesterday the object was seen. I could not find any other NOTAMS and was really puzzled until James Oberg gave this link:

http://uncinus.wordpress.com/2010/11/09/4/

So it probably was a contrail. Pretty bizarre if you ask me. I was convinced it was a rocket and even thought I could see the rocket exhaust in the clip. It probably was just the aircraft reflecting sunlight. It just goes to show you that you can easily be fooled by these sorts of things. I am sure the military will eventually declare it a contrail but the conspiracy crowd will say it is a cover-up for a secret missile launch or some chinese or russian submarine firing a warning shot off the coast of California!
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Re: Unexplained Missile Launch Off SoCal Coast

Postby Tim Hebert » Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:18 am

The possibility of a plane was proposed earlier. While that could certainly be possible, it's difficult to ascertain how big the contrail actually was due to camera angle, distance, etc. We're led to believe that the contrail was large. To me, it looked like a missile launch, but of course I could be way off base. If you look at the very beginning of the contrail, it appears that there is a bright source of ignition...of course this could be sun light bouncing off of a plane. It is indeed interesting.

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Re: Unexplained Missile Launch Off SoCal Coast

Postby Access Denied » Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:11 am

I merged Tim P’s post with the existing thread started by Tim H and moved it to this forum.

I think this is a case of the left hand not knowing that the right hand actually knows what it’s doing. Evidence includes word today from some in amateur/commercial space that they were contacted by officials to see if they knew what it was.

An unannounced ballistic missile launch is never a good idea and had this been an actual missile launch, rest assured it would have been detected… and not just by us. In either case I believe we would have heard very different statements from officials…

Reminds me of the Newfoundland “Missiles” in January… I too thought it might have been an unannounced and/or aggressive launch at first but reason eventually prevailed.
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Re: Unexplained Missile Launch Off SoCal Coast

Postby Gilles F. » Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:19 pm

Greetings,

Even if I find the contrail explanation very interrestring and my "favorite" at this stage (I liked this blog http://uncinus.wordpress.com/2010/11/09/4/#more-4), a french person have suggested to examine another pist that dunno if it have been already suggested to investigate: Sea Launch. So, I share.

It was built by Kvaerner Govan Ltd, at Govan shipyard, in Glasgow, Scotland. Its home port is Long Beach, California.
Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_Launch


And his launcher (3 stages) : http://www.sea-launch.com/sllaunch_vehicle.htm

SeaLaunch is already effective in California or it is becomed "russian"? What do you think dears? Do you could verify or it is a bad one?

Very best regards,

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Re: Unexplained Missile Launch Off SoCal Coast

Postby astrophotographer » Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:33 pm

I think the biggest problem with the "missile" explanation is that very few pilots (if any) reported it. Nothing unusual seems to have occurred. Pilots were not warned off (and there were flights coming in from that direction) and no airlines reported seeing a missile launch of any kind. I think that gives some weight to the airplane contrail explanation.
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Re: Unexplained Missile Launch Off SoCal Coast

Postby Gilles F. » Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:07 pm

Yep Tim. Full of common sens, as usual.

Concerning Sea Launch, our "astronomer" replied that's a bad hypothesis. The platform was usualy tracked for launches from California to equatorial zone in Pacific. It is in "bankrupt" and the next launches are scheduled in 2011. As there was no satelitte launch november the 8th recenced (last is the 5th in California -Skyterra 1, the 6th in T.U. hours).

Regards,

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Re: Unexplained Missile Launch Off SoCal Coast

Postby Gilles F. » Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:01 am

Re Dears,

Dunno if you have readed or seen, but out autority argument, a rocket specialist have commented as following:

I’d like to add to all the evidence above that it was just a jet, because the plume is nothing like a rocket plume to the trained eye. I was a rocket safety inspector for 3 years, have seen countless launches and failures, and have a master’s degree in Astronautical Engineering. Here’s why it’s not a rocket:

It’s too slow (<— biggest reason). There's no engine flare. There's no expansion of the plume (as the chamber pressure exceeds the atmospheric pressure more and more during flight). There's no staging event. There's no sunset striations across the plume (which would look like this: http://tinyurl.com/2vklwu5). In the wide shot there's two contrails (off each wing!) instead of one. The plume at the plane is twirling in different directions (very un-rocket-like). The plume at the plane is twirling too much — that only happens in the case of a motor burn-through, which is a failure mode, meaning it would be seconds from exploding if it were a rocket. The wind-blown plume is all wrong, vertical plumes go through several different wind shear layers, which makes it look very different than what the video shows.

I could go on and on, because I'm an actual expert. (As opposed to "I've seen a shuttle launch on TV once, so I know everything there is to know about rocket plumes." — which is apparently the dominant mindset here.)

CBS owes everyone an apology for not fact-checking their story with actual experts before running it.

Source : http://uncinus.wordpress.com/2010/11/09/4/#more-4

As The Pentagone seems to have concluded in contrail's liner too : http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20101110/pl ... lemilitary

Regards,

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Re: Unexplained Missile Launch Off SoCal Coast

Postby Access Denied » Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:49 am

Gilles F. wrote:
CBS owes everyone an apology for not fact-checking their story with actual experts before running it.

I'll say...

I’m seeing lots of incredulity elsewhere concerning early statements from officials to the effect they didn’t know what it was. The point they all seem to be missing is they knew what it wasn’t. Note it was initially reported to be a missile launch so that’s all they were in a position to confirm or deny…

[from the earliest report in print I could find]

Mysterious missile lights up the sky over the Pacific (KFMB, San Diego)
Posted: Nov 08, 2010 11:19 PM PST (around 5 hours after the video was shot)
Updated: Nov 09, 2010 10:16 AM PST (one wonders what the update was?)
http://www.cbs8.com/Global/story.asp?S=13468118

Pacific Ocean (CBS 8 )- A mysterious missile launch off the southern California coast was caught on video Monday evening by a KCBS news helicopter.

The spectacular contrail could easily be seen up in Los Angeles, but who launched this missile and why, remain a mystery for now.

The magnificent images were captured from the KCBS chopper around 5pm. The location of the missile was described as west of Los Angeles, north of Catalina Island, and approximately 35 miles out to sea.

Despite the fact the Navy stated they didn’t launch one…

A Navy spokesperson tells News 8, this wasn't its missile. He said there was no Navy activity reported in that part of the region.

And despite the fact the Air Force stated they didn’t launch one…

On Friday, November 5, Vandenberg Air Force Base launched a Delta II rocket, carrying the Thales Alenia Space-Italia COSMO SkyMed satellite, but a sergeant at the base tells News 8, there have been no launches since then.

And despite this from a former official based on the assumption it was a missile…

[apparently unaware of the Navy and Air Force statements]

News 8 showed the video to Robert Ellsworth, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and a former Deputy Secretary of Defense.

He said it didn't appear to be a Tomahawk missile and said it would be safest to wait for definitive answers to come from the military.

Based on pure speculation, however, Ambassador Ellsworth said, with President Obama in Asia, perhaps this could have been a show of our military muscle.

"It could be a test firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile from an underwater submarine, to demonstrate mainly to Asia, that we can do that," he said, stressing that it was just a theory.

CBS News (national) ran with this story the next day anyway in a different form…

Mystery Missile Launch Seen off Calif. Coast
Military Mum on Nature of "Big Missile" Rising Out of Pacific - a Possible Show of U.S. Military Might
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/11/ ... 6716.shtml

(CBS) A mysterious missile launch off the southern California coast was caught by CBS affiliate KCBS's cameras Monday night, and officials are staying tight-lipped over the nature of the projectile.

CBS station KFMB put in calls to the Navy and Air Force Monday night about the striking launch off the coast of Los Angeles, which was easily visible from the coast, but the military has said nothing about the launch.

Really, “nothing”?

KFMB showed video of the apparent missile to former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Robert Ellsworth, who is also a former Deputy Secretary of Defense, to get his thoughts.

"It's spectacular… It takes people's breath away," said Ellsworth, calling the projectile, "a big missile".

What happened to Ellsworth’s “safest to wait”, “pure speculation” and “just a theory’?

Magnificent images were captured by the KCBS news helicopter in L.A. around sunset Monday evening. The location of the missile was about 35 miles out to sea, west of L.A. and north of Catalina Island.

A Navy spokesperson told KFMB it wasn't their missile. He said there was no Navy activity reported in the area Monday evening.

On Friday night, Vandenberg Air Force Base, in California, launched a Delta II rocket, carrying an Italian satellite into orbit, but a sergeant at the base told KFMB there had been no launches since then.

Ellsworth urged American to wait for definitive answers to come from the military.

Ah, there’s Ellsworth’s caution… thrown to the wind. Oh, and there's the “nothing” that the military said. Note also the location is now “was” implying it was definite not “was described” as originally reported.

When asked, however, what he thought it might be, the former ambassador said it could possibly have been a missile test timed as a demonstration of American military might as President Obama tours Asia.

10 Famous American UFO Reports: Fact or Fiction? [link inserted in text]

"It could be a test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile from a submarine … to demonstrate, mainly to Asia, that we can do that," speculated Ellsworth.

Ellsworth said such tests were carried out in the Atlantic to demonstrate America's power to the Soviets, when there was a Soviet Union, but he doesn't believe an ICBM has previously been tested by the U.S. over the Pacific.

Officially, at least, the projectile remains a mystery missile.

Where was Ellsworth's “doesn’t believe” caveat in the original article? At least they emphasized the word “might” but that last sentence is pretty twisted and neat trick inserting that UFO link in there. I wonder who might stumble onto that keyword?

[raise your hand if you’ve ever setup a news notification on “UFO”]

Interestingly, KCBS, the Los Angeles CBS affiliate that originally shot the footage, finally printed this later that day…

[apparently they had only reported the story on-air prior to this]

RAW VIDEO: Mysterious Contrail Off Calif.
November 9, 2010 5:29 PM
http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2010/11/ ... nia-coast/

LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — Pentagon officials said Tuesday it did not know what created a vapor trail that crossed the skies over Los Angeles on Monday night, but they insist the contrail was not the result of a foreign military launching a missile.

Note it is now being called a “contrail” and what happened to Ellsworth’s theory that it “could possibly” have been a US missile launch? Oh, that’s right, the “tight-lipped” military that reportedly said “nothing” already said the night before the story broke nationwide that we didn’t launch anything.

Video posted on the CBS Los Angeles website shows an object flying through the evening sky Monday that left a large contrail, or vapor trail. While cruising the skies Monday at sunset, Sky2 captured on video what appears to be a missile making its way up into the sky from over the Pacific Ocean off the California coast.

Pentagon officials were stumped by the event. “Nobody within the Department of Defense that we’ve reached out to has been able to explain what this contrail is, where it came from,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said.

So now it’s an “object” not a missile and the military is “stumped”? Who knew?

While the vapor cloud captured on video resembled that created by a rocket in flight, military officials said they didn’t know of any launches in the area.

Lapan said that “all indications” were that the Defense Department was not involved with the object.

One expert called it an optical illusion. “It’s an airplane that is heading toward the camera and the contrail is illuminated by the setting sun,” said John Pike, director of the U.S.-based security analyst group globalsecurity.org.

Now there’s a theory.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, issued a statement jointly with the U.S. Northern Command, or NORTHCOM, saying that the contrail was not the result of a foreign military launching a missile. It provided no details.

“We can confirm that there is no threat to our nation,” the statement said. “We will provide more information as it becomes available.”

NORTHCOM is the U.S. defense command and NORAD is a U.S.-Canadian organization charged with protecting the U.S. from the threat of missiles or hostile aircraft.

And the problem with this statement is?

Pike said the object could not have been a rocket because it appeared to alter its course.

“The local station chopped up the video and so it’s hard to watch it continuously,” Pike said. “But at one place you can see it has changed course — rockets don’t do that.”

Pike said he didn’t understand why the military had not recognized the contrail of an aircraft. “The Air Force must …understand how contrails are formed,” he said. “Why they can’t get some major out to belabor the obvious, I don’t know.”

Could that be because Air Force is no longer in the business of investigating UFOs?

Judge for yourself by watching this raw video from Sky2.

Or have a closer look at some of the screen shots we’ve taken.

Nice try, still looks chopped up… :roll:
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Re: Unexplained Missile Launch Off SoCal Coast

Postby Tim Hebert » Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:56 am

Access Denied wrote:Pike said the object could not have been a rocket because it appeared to alter its course.

“The local station chopped up the video and so it’s hard to watch it continuously,” Pike said. “But at one place you can see it has changed course — rockets don’t do that.”

Pike said he didn’t understand why the military had not recognized the contrail of an aircraft. “The Air Force must …understand how contrails are formed,” he said. “Why they can’t get some major out to belabor the obvious, I don’t know.”


When I reviewed the video, I noticed what could have been construed as a missile making a program course correction. Guidance system kicking in? Someone needs to tell Pike that yes rockets/missiles can and do make course corrections. That is if this was indeed a missile. Why must the Air Force be the authority on this one, excepting NORAD, their domain is exclusively Vandenberg AFB which is 150 miles up the coast from LA.

As a side note, the day after the sighting I called my wife, who is now retired AF (and a former missile maintenance officer) working at the ASW base, Point Loma, and asked her take on this. She only replied, "That's a stupid question, what do you think it was? You and I have seen this numerous times before." She's still in the missile camp on this one.

Secret U.S sub launch? Rather than the typical east to west route this one heads southwest-ward? to stay clear of commercial air traffic? Yet no commercial pilot noticed anything unusual coming from the ocean surface. And of course, why would the Navy conduct a classified test launch of the coast of LA? Strange indeed.

If it was a contrail from an airliner, which one was it? Now that should be easy to find out. I'm not losing any sleep over this one since I didn't see a bright flash over the distant horizon and the obligatory mushroom cloud. :)

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Re: Unexplained Missile Launch Off SoCal Coast

Postby Why Not? » Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:07 pm

Tim Hebert.....

I've looked at the videos & pictures of this "event", subsequent to looking at myriad videos & pictures of contrails illuminated by a low-angle sun.

The videos & pictures of this "event" look very much like such a contrail, to me.

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Re: Unexplained Missile Launch Off SoCal Coast

Postby astrophotographer » Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:38 pm

Tim Hebert wrote:
If it was a contrail from an airliner, which one was it? Now that should be easy to find out. I'm not losing any sleep over this one since I didn't see a bright flash over the distant horizon and the obligatory mushroom cloud. :)



From what I have been able to gather it is a flight from Hawaii to Phoenix (US air flight 808). It was in the area at the time of the "sighting". The link I gave has a flight number for the aircraft.

If it was a missile launch:

1) The airliner from Honlolulu to Phoenix would have been in position to see it.
2) The FAA radar probably would have picked it up.
3) Weather satellite images would have picked up the contrail showing the rockets direction

I have yet to see anybody to present any evidence that it was a rocket other than looking at the video and considering it one. I too thought it was an ICBM test from a sub. I had seen my share of such tests and rocket launches when I was stationed in Florida. However, after examining the facts and looking at the video closely (especially the full clip that showed a much later part of the event), I concluded it was very likely an airplane contrail. Take at the last part of this clip at around time 0:50

http://www.necn.com/11/09/10/Mysterious-missile-launched-off-Californ/landing_scitech.html?blockID=348833&feedID=4213

Again, this link is pretty good and he keeps updating it including a sequence of shots made by a photographer in Long Beach showing the contrail's changing appearance as upper level winds changed its shape. It also shows the motion of the actual aircraft in flight:

http://uncinus.wordpress.com/2010/11/09/4/
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Re: Unexplained Missile Launch Off SoCal Coast

Postby Access Denied » Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:10 pm

If there’s any doubt, the page Tim linked to links to this page where the same flight produced the same effect the very next day…

It was US Airways flight 808
http://blog.bahneman.com/content/it-was ... flight-808

In science, if your hypothesis can be tested and independently reproduced your hypothesis becomes accepted theory. It’s not often we see that happen with proposed explanations for UFO reports. In the interest of intellectual honesty one usually has to concede an inconclusive position with caveats like “the most likely explanation” but I think this one’s different.

The thing that gets me is thinking back now, it seems I’ve seen this effect off the coast before and never thought twice about it. Of course I also have to consider the possibility that may be a false memory… :)

Tom

ETA:

Tim Hebert wrote:Someone needs to tell Pike that yes rockets/missiles can and do make course corrections.

Other than a programmed pitch-over very early in the boost phase, I’m not sure you would notice any course corrections in a typical ballistic missile’s flight profile.
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