An Atlas V rocket carries a spy satellite (NROL-24) into orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on 10 December 2007. Liftoff occurred at 5:05 p.m. after a two minute delay to allow the International Space Station to pass safely overhead. Two dolphins swam around in the fading twilight to put things in the proper perspective.
An excerpt from a United Launch Alliance press release:
"ULA is proud to have played a critical role for this important NRO mission, ensuring that our nation has the technology and spaceborne assets needed to acquire intelligence worldwide," said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president of Atlas programs. "Close teamwork with the NRO Office of Space Launch, the U.S. Air Force Launch and Range Systems Wing and the 45th Space Wing at Cape Canaveral made todays successful mission possible."