While driving through the plains over the past two days, I heard incessant yapperings about the “mystery missile” launched off the coast of California. I was curious as to what this was about; when I finally got where I could get online and look this up last night, I was disappointed to see the images. An incredibly brief search showed that someone had already done the legwork to show that the contrail was perfectly explainable via normal jetliners, just viewed at a rare angle.
Additionally, there’s one *blatant* bit of trivia about this story that stomps flat the suggestion that this was a rocket: the helicopter-based cameraman tracked it for *ten* *minutes.* There ain’t no such animal as a solid propellant rocket that burns for ten minutes. The Shuttle SRB burns for a whole two.
Fearmongering by the press, nothing more.