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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)

If it was a foreign country in some show of force, then we should initiate unrestricted submarine warfare. That's always a good first move.

The trajectory of the object, the contrail it created, and the obvious flame at its exhaust (definitely not a reflection of the sun visible from a long distance away on such a tiny object) mark this as a missile.

In regards to the official statement "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, "

As NYOB says, Horse Hockey!

Radar installations at Pt. Mugu and Vandenberg absolutely must have a solid record of the object's location and movements from the time it was launched to the time it either disintegrated, fell back into the ocean, or kept ascending and went onto orbit and continues in orbit. If they don't, what the hell are they doing with the most sophisticated airspace monitoring system in the world?

Plus LAX's civilian air traffic monitoring system is supposedly able to track all aircraft in its sphere of operations, which includes airspace over Southern California's Channel Islands.

There is no lack of data about this event. There is, however, an obvious damage control operation reaching to the highest levels of the Dept of Homeland Security.

What a bunch of nonsense.

You can sure bet the government has already reviewed all air traffic controller logs for a commercial jetliner over the pacific at that exact moment.

If it was a jet, the government would announce which one it was! They know!

I demand a truthful answer and I demand it immediately!

How stupid do they think we are????

I live in souther california and saw one of these about a year ago out over Catalina Island. It looked like a missile then too and was also during sunset. I never heard anything about it and just figured it was a military test. Looked exactly the same.

Totally an airplane. You don't see it more often because the weather that night was pretty unique. Only a handful of times a year do you get it that cold, that windy, after rain, with clear sky at sunset. The "fireball" is the sun off of the metal.
Other web sites identified this as USAIR flight from HON to PHX, which passed LA at that time, changing altitude.

Thats clearly a weather balloon.

Anyone remember TWA Flight 800? Didn't people claim to see a rocket or missle in the sky then?

This reminds me of the "meteor" that exploded over the midwest last year. It was such a massive explosion that 5 states felt, heard, and saw it.


The week, day and hour before the explosion no one said anything. No news story. No announcement from officials about something heading our way. Nothing from scientists.

After the fact the news was telling us all about how it was a meteor and nothing else.

Hey US Media Execs we aren't stupid. We know when you're lying to us, which is very frequent. We know when you're too lazy to actually dig for the story. We understand you think you're mocking us. You keep on lying to us and taking out front page advertisements like this and we'll let you collapse as we find better sources of information without a thought. At this point all your poor reporting is is just the shovel with which you're digging your graves. Hope you can live with yourselves knowing your part of the ruin of what was once a great service and industry. =p

I'm New Mexico near several air bases and frequently watch fighters practicing interceptions and mock shoot downs in the skies over my area.

That's what this looks like. A fighter testing afterburners.

Remember, all missiles have speeds multiple times that of jet fighters.

This was only a plane.

Frankly, much of what DoD does is secret for good reason.

The base of the contrail is clearly in front of the lowest layer of clouds, not behind them, so it is not the contrail of a jet approaching on a near-horizontal trajectory. This vehicle had a largely vertical trajectory. I have seen U.S. Military fighter jets run the same gauntlet that appears on the video many times, but they left no obvious contrails. This is definitely a U.S. military aircraft in a near-vertical trajectory spewing a smokescreen, or a missile of some sort.

I'm not conspiracy nut either - nor am I an aviation expert. But how could a helicopter pilot who is flying around out there every day doing traffic get totally confused by what s/he saw - and the video clearly shows a yellow glow from what looks like a booster rocket facing the direction of the camera?

Now - do I think it's the Koreans or Al Qaeda or the US Military -no.

Could it be some yahoo who wanted to launch a communications satellite from just outside the US in international waters so they didn't have to go through all the hassle of doing it the right way with permission from the US Gov't, etc. etc. Yea, that I can see.

I like the way they said "they have no conclusive evidence" anything was launched. For all the money we pay for defense, I wanna have a system that tells me where the damn thing was MADE, never mind launched.

The signal of the earthquake?

Well...then whose airplane was it? Where'd it take off from? What's with all the freakin' exhaust? Must have been some size craft to let loose that much smoke behind it. What were they doing...burning brush on the end of it?

The signal of the earthquake?  Look up at the sky,the clouds will tell us the natural disaster.The wisdom of the old person. (or Rocket?)

Why did the LA Times pull down the video from the CBS helicopter that watched looked exactly like a Vandenberg missle launched at sunset only 80 miles south. And replaced it with a fuzzy photo that looked like almost anything. Why not let people around here who know what a large missle looks like in the sky determine for themselves. Not to be overly nervous. But somebody clearly is!!!

If it was indeed a commercial jetliner, LAX Air Traffic Control would be able to tell us which jets were in that airspace at that time. They haven't done that. And a careful read of NORAD's statement that "all indications" are it was not a foreign military launch, but they are working to "determine the exact nature of this event" is an exercise in official obfuscation.

The post suggesting a Chinese sea-launched ballistic missile aimed out to sea while Obama and Hillary are blitzing Asia to seek allies has a certain ring of possibility to it.

Would DOD lie? As the fictional Col. Jessup said: "You can't handle the truth."

wake up people it is a missle

I've seen Vandenberg launches at sunset. Big ICBM class missels look almost exactly like this. It's not an aircraft contrail or if it is it's one of the biggest mega single engine high flying aircraft I've ever seen. Virtually all high altitude jets are multi engined and leave distinct two/four engine divides in their exhaust (contrails). They also don't normally fly straight up.

So far the explanations are pure hogwash. Why isn't the press on top of this. How about interviewing other pilots in the air,people on the ground or people on boats in the area. A strange lack of vigor.

I am a retired police helicopter pilot and a resident of coastal orange county for most of my life. I have seen thousands of sunsets over the ocean on land and in the air when I was flying. The ONLY time I ever saw anything like this was when it was missile launched from from Vandenberg. I saw the launch Monday and today. Both were missiles an NOT an airliner. In fact I could see other airliners flying at the time of these incidents. None were leaving a contrail like this. This was some type of missile and absolutely not an aircraft. If it was it would have been communicating with LA Center ATC and could have been positively identified.

I am glad this didn't happen off the coast of Florida. The whole state would be engaged in looting and food riots. There most definately would be a "run" on the Glenn Beck freeze dried food bank and gold would be $12K/ounce. I am so glad I got out of there when I did.

It's IronMan!!!

Seems to me that if this was an optical illusion caused by an aircraft contrail, people would experience it several times a day considering how many planes are in the sky at any given time.

The only time I've ever experienced an 'optical illusion' like this is when a missile is launched.

Calm down please. It's just gas from Nancy Pelosi's contrail as she jets off to a galaxy far, far away.

Not really concerned about our president being Muslim, American, or anything else but an 'unknown' missile type missile is pretty scary

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