Watch This Atlas 5 Rocket Deploy Spy Satellites Into Space

New video shows tiny GPS satellites being deployed by United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket. 

by Sam Blum
Getty Images

On October 8th, United Launch Alliance launched an Atlas 5 rocket beyond the stratosphere to deploy a bundle of technology into space for America’s spy satellite agency.

New video uploaded today shows the rocket’s liftoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, and the cumulus wake of smoke, fire, and dust that erupts beneath it.

Perhaps more notably, the second part of the video shows the rocket flying through the darkness of outer space, deploying tiny cubesats, or miniature satellites that in this instance will act as GPS tracking technology for the National Reconnaissance Office.

The ULA notes that this particular mission was carried out for national defense purposes.

In the video above, you can see the tiny cubesats gently float off into the void of space, as the rocket darts upward.

The ULA noted that the launch of the Atlas 5 went off without a hitch, and that the little, dinky cubesats are pretty useful devices to have orbiting the earth.

“The GRACE CubeSats will perform missions demonstrating tracking technologies, software-defined radio communications and will also conduct other measurements and experiments,” Jim Sponnick, vice-president of ULA, said in a statement.

Although the initial launch occurred nearly a month ago, Tory Bruno, president and CEO of ULA, noted his excitement for the video today.

This past Halloween, the ULA launched a much larger, $245 million GPS satellite into space, and in less exciting fashion, posted only photos of the launch to different social media accounts.