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Atlas V greets the skies over Southwest Florida

Posted at 9:16 AM, Aug 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-04 11:04:58-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Thursday morning's launch of an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral could be seen for hundreds of miles thanks to ideal weather conditions.

That included here in Southwest Florida, as the rocket's exhaust arc could be seen across the curvature of the sky.

The launch happened at 6:30 Thursday morning. The Atlas V payload includes a missile-tracking satellite. It's the last for the U.S. Space Force's Space-Based Infrared System.

The SBIRS program replaces the military's Defense Support Program, which was in use since 1970.

The successful liftoff was the United Launch Alliance's fifth mission of the year.

If you have photos or video of the launch, you can email them to

Later, at 7:03 p.m., a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will also fly from a nearby Cape Canaveral pad with South Korea's first lunar mission.