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“Mystery missile” was probably an aircraft, government says


A Pentagon official said that an examination of radar data, satellite imagery and other sophisticated monitoring technology by multiple U.S. government agencies has turned up no conclusive evidence that a missile was fired in that vicinity and at that time.

Even U.S. agencies that monitor launches of rockets by private individuals or companies had no information of a launch, he said.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said that FAA records showed commercial airliners were flying in the area at the time, and that most government experts were coming to the conclusion that the condensation trail was caused by an aircraft. "The best we can tell, it was probably caused by an aircraft," the official said.

John Pike, director of globalsecurity.org, a website for military policy research, agrees. He said the idea that the government would carry out a secret launch illuminated at sunset, within view of 8 million Angelenos, is hard to believe.

"If it were secret, we'd do it at night in Alaska where only the caribou could see it," Pike said. "It's an airplane contrail, pure and simple."

The vehicle is not moving fast enough and does not have the trajectory characteristics of a rocket, he said. The reason people think it's a rocket is because it's an optical illusion, he said.

The plane is coming over the horizon, straight at the camera. Because of the angle and the lighting at sunset it appears as a rocket rising, he said.

"I've seen a lot of rocket and airplane contrails over the years," he said. "What I saw was an airplane contrail."

-- David S. Cloud at the Pentagon and W.J. Hennigan in Los Angeles

Photo: A KCBS helicopter cameraman captured footage of a mysterious missile-like projectile Monday evening. Credit: KCBS-TV

Comments () | Archives (132)

I work in Torrance CA. Did anyone else hear the loud jet sound last night around the time of the presumed launch??

That was DEFINITELY DEFINITELY DEFINITELY a Trident Ballistic Missile being launched. There is a definite orange glow from the afterburner during the later part of the footage. Saying that was an aircraft is insulting.

Looks like a hit on a enemy satellite.

Tomorrow they will be telling us it was a weather balloon.....

@jack, LOL!!

"If it were secret, we'd do it at night in Alaska where only the caribou could see it," Pike said. "It's an airplane contrail, pure and simple."

Caribou are probably recording videos for the Russians or Chinese! This has to be one of the funniest comments I have seen!

What type of aircraft would do this? I don't know, I think it is a universal worm from a universal computer of 1(s) and 0(s)!

I believe God has infected our world with a worm! A worm that is designed to wipe the earth of evil in the near future. :•)

Could it have been a terrorist shooting a rocket at an airplane and they missed?

Chemtrails are everywhere now. PAY ATTENTION.

I like at the same day an airplane had to make an emergency landing due to massive damage from "bird strike".

"Delta II rocket was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base about 100 miles up the coast from us. It was carrying an Italian satellite destined to observe, photograph and report on the Mediterranean basin"

True. Except that launch occurred last Friday, I saw it.

the trajectory of said "airplane contrail" "ain't" from no "aero-plane;" someone fired a rocket.

A jet! Oh please. We aren't stupid. Just say it's classified. That I could believe.

I work in Newport Beach, which has a pretty good view of Catalina island. Took a walk outside along the coast about 20 minutes, and saw this exact same thing my friends saw yesterday. Whatever this is, it's got a schedule.

I live in Central Florida and work outside 90% of the time. I have watched hundreds of rockets take off in my 50 years and because I work outside at my a plant nursery I see the hundreds of contrails everyday. In some of the busiest airspace in the country and have never seen anything that comes close to looking like a rocket launch that was not a rocket.

You know, it would have been nice if this article said something about WHERE this was, and what trajectory the contrail took!

Nonetheless, the logic behind the conclusions reported is nonsense -- and I laugh at the Times for being either so gullible or so complicit. The government does SECRET space shots out of Vandenberg all the time! They have more space shots out of there each year than out of Florida, most of them secret military shots. I see the contrails regularly, in a north-south trajectory, and obviously too big to have come from a plane. I am in Los Angeles.

But this shot appears to be going up from below, as if it has just taken off. Without knowing where this picture was shot, maybe from somewhere in the Vandenberg area, or maybe out in the mojave where private space companies are working, I have no idea what to say. If this is going up from off the coast, then maybe it was a mistake from missile-equipped sub and the military doesn't want to acknowledge making a mistake.

Its my understanding that the person who took the picture saw this thing going up.

You cannot on one hand say it is an illusion and the craft is really a slow airplane coming at you making the trail look vertical, without also admitting that a very fast object, curving up and away from you, can look like it is moving slowly. This is no contrail. The volume/speed of the exhaust swirl, single line trail and glowing point source gives it away. This is a launch and the military doesn't know what is is, or knows and is embarassed to admit it, either way, they got caught with their pants down.

I don't buy into conspiracy theories. But that was no airplane. The government is in massive overdrive with the coverup story.

All you conspiracy theorists need to go back to playing Final Fantasy in your underwear while chomping on Cheetos.
You don't "buy" that it could be an optical illusion? You probably also believe Chris Angel has magical powers.

But of course, an aircraft launch with full after-burners 30 some miles north of Catalina Island, some civilian I'll bet testing his new private jet with pontoons for sea take-off. The marijuana smoke wafting up from LA-LA Land caused an inversion of some sort and caused the appearance of a rocket launch.

could someone explain the twin engined passenger jet being tailed by a small fighter last night at around 5pm this was traveling northeast just under the moon?

I'm ex-navy and when I see a picture of this pop-up on a friends facebook of the missile launch from exactly the right direction at the moment of launch I tend to believe that this launch is U.S. in origin. NOT North Korean, NOT Chinese NOT anybody else, just a missile test by the U.S. Navy. No other way that buddy of mine could have got that picture.

I live 20 miles from Vandenberg. Have watched countless launches over the past 25 years. I see jet contrails every day. This is NOT a contrail from a jet. It is most definitley a rocket launch and, apparently, an embarrasment to the military, who weren't expecting it.

Perhaps they should try the "flying saucer with a faulty muffler" excuse.


Ya mean they let foreign subs get in this close?

Whatever, it is good for conspiracy theorists, weather geeks, conspiracists and those who believe everything they see on television. Sounds like the LA we have all come to believe in Back East.

Its a contrail... Planes when coming over the horizon and that are going to pass right over the photographer will look like a rocket taking off. Work with aircraft as long as I have and you will know that

Another thing people... its not from another nuke sub... seeing as the US is the only nation in the world that still operates nuke powered subs...

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