An Atlas V rocket lifts a secret government cargo into space from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 5:35 p.m. on 8 September 2009. The top views show the Atlas powering away until it finally disappears in the distant sky while the bottom view shows the launch framed by Launch Pads 39A and 39B that are used for the space shuttle program. Pad 39B, the pad in the left foreground, is undergoing renovation to support the Ares-1X launch in October---if the program is not canceled by then. As for the Atlas and its cargo, the PAN designation on the mission patch supposedly means the rather cryptic “Palladium At Night” though some say it should be “Pick A Name.” Furthermore, no government agency is claiming ownership of the satellite but most believe it is a communication satellite geared for the U.S. intelligence community.

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