Atlas V Rocket Launch Produces Mysterious Streak Of Light Across Central Florida

Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida on August 8, 2019

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – The predawn launch of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida on August 8, 2019, produced a mysterious white streak across the sky which led many viewers across Central Florida to speculate that the rocket had exploded.

But for residents of Brevard County on Florida’s Space Coast who are accustomed to the “tear drop” refracted light phenomenon occasionally produced during rocket launches around dawn and dusk, it was simply a beautiful sight to behold, video, and photograph.

The Atlas V 551 rocket lifted off at 6:13 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time carrying the fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-5) communications satellite for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.

Following the first stage of flight, the Centaur upper stage performed an initial burn that achieved a parking orbit.

A second burn then injected the rocket and payload into a standard geosynchronous transfer orbit.

The satellite is currently on its way into a geosynchronous transfer orbit 22,000 miles above the Earth.