Pre-dawn launch of Atlas V carrying U.S. Navy advanced tactical communications satellite into orbit to join a growing network designed to aid U.S. military forces stationed around the world took place on September 2. The launch occurred about 1/2 hour before dawn. I was at Canova Beach at the end of the Eau Gallie Causeway where I often start my mornings watch the sunrise after swimming. The launch went off without a hitch and the one of the most spectacular visual events took place I have ever witnessed. As the rocket rose it came into the path of the morning sunrise. The vapor trail started to grow and had a sheen like sparkle to it. This (I believe) was the hot gases coming out of the rocket was a plasma where the electrons had been stripped of their atoms and were excited by the sunlight – exactly the same effect you see in atmospheric phenomenon like the northern lights. What an unexpected treat!