Mysterious missile launched off the California coast... but no one owns up to firing itThe Daily Mail
November 8, 2010
A mysterious missile lit up the sky off the coast of Southern California yesterday - but military chiefs have yet to reveal who launched it.
The vapour trails from the missile could be seen from Los Angeles and miles around and in amazing images caught on video, looked to be within sight of a passenger aircraft.
The location of the missile was said to be west of Los Angeles, north of Catalina Island, and approximately 35 miles out to sea.
Local TV station KCBS captured the launch from their helicopter around 5pm local time.
The footage has left onlookers and military personnel baffled.
Colonel David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, said so far none of the military or Department of Defense (DoD) agencies that might have launched a missile 'have come up and said they were involved in this.'
'So we're still trying to find out what the contrail off the coast of southern California was caused by,' he said.
'Right now, all indications are that it was not a DoD activity,' he said.
Ordinarily, a missile test would involve closure of air space and notifications to mariners of when to stay clear of the area, but none were known to have been made in this case, Lapan explained.
He said it was 'implausible' that a military exercise would have been conducted so near Los Angeles' busy international airport.
'That's why at this point the operative term is unexplained,' Lapan added.
A spokesperson for the Navy denied knowledge of the missile and said it didn't belong to them. He said there was no reported Navy activity in that area at that time.
It was confirmed that Vandenberg Air Force Base launched a Delta II rocket, carrying the Thales Alenia Space-Italia COSMO SkyMed satellite last Friday.
But a sergeant at the base told News 8 that there have been no launches since then.
The video which showed the missile lighting up the dusk sky met by the spectacular backdrop of an orange sunset was shown to Robert Ellsworth, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and a former Deputy Secretary of Defense.
He told News 8 that it did not appear to be a Tomahawk missile but thought it would be safe to wait for a definitive answer from the military as to what the rocket was?
Ambassador Ellsworth did speculate though that with President Obama currently on a 10-day tour of Asia, it may be the military showing off their muscle to Far Eastern leaders.
'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 but maintained that it was just a theory.
He also revealed that a test missile was fired over the Atlantic to demonstrate America's power to the Soviets when there was a Soviet Union but doesn't believe it has ever been done over the Atlantic.
The next missile based due to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base is scheduled for December.