Quote Originally Posted by thriftyandboringinohio View Post
I wouldn't make too much of a rocket launch, ICBM or otherwise.
The Pacific Test Range is our main rocket test range, we use it often and all such launches are towards China, vaguely.
I think the only unusual thing is that those launches are announced, and the Pentagon doesn't act coy about them.

When I lived in Santa Barbara, we saw a lot of launches from Vandenburg AFB -- usually tests of missile defense hardware in Kwajalein. Here is someone's photo of a satellite launch from Vandenburg:

When they launch at dusk, it can be dark on the ground, but the contrail gets lit up by bright sunlight when the rocket rises above the earth's shadow.