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A Delta II rocket carried the Thales Alenia Space-Italia COSMO-SkyMed Satellite southbound over the Pacific, past San Diego, at 7:20 p.m. on November 5. The rocket, launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base (north of Santa Barbara) was clearly visible with the naked eye. The separation of the rocket’s stages occurred right off our coast.

According to press-release material, “The overall objective of the COSMO-SkyMed program is global Earth observation, particularly in the Mediterranean area. Some applications include territorial surveillance; analyzing effects of natural disasters; coastal surveillance to assess erosion and sea/river pollution, monitoring of farming, forestry resources and urban buildings; mapping with a resolution on the order of one meter; and territorial security and strategic defense.”

Photo: Brian Webb

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