Photos: Atlas 5’s stunning climb to space at sunset

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This photo gallery includes a series of spectacular pictures of the launch of an Atlas 5 rocket Nov. 13 from Cape Canaveral with a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office.

The 206-foot-tall (63-meter) United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket fired off pad 41 at Cape Canaveral at 5:32 p.m. EST (2232 GMT) on Nov. 13, debuting a new strap-on solid rocket motor design produced by Northrop Grumman.

A few hours later, the NRO and ULA declared the mission a success, extending ULA’s streak of successful launches to 141 since the company’s formation in 2006 as a 50-50 joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

These photos show the Atlas 5 rocket blasting off from pad 41 with nearly 1.8 million pounds of thrust from its RD-180 main engine and three solid rocket boosters. The last three photos show jettison of the Atlas 5’s three strap-on boosters and payload fairing.

Read our full story on the launch for details.

Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Stephen Clark / Spaceflight Now
Credit: United Launch Alliance
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now

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