What has a shadowy US government spy agency just shot into space? Top-secret group that boasts 'nothing is beyond our reach' blasts classified rocket into orbit

Despite ongoing anger about how the U.S. government is snooping on people around the world, one agency is still keen to boast about its spying - with a creepy cartoon octopus and an alarming logo.

A top-secret rocket carrying spy satellites for the National Reconnaissance Office launched from the central California coast late on Thursday, and it had a large badge emblazoned on the side

The new logo features a huge and sinister octopus, with just one angry eye visible, as it wraps its tentacles round the globe. Written underneath is: 'Nothing Is Beyond Our Reach.'

Creepy? The spy rocket launched on Thursday featured a logo with an angry octopus encircling the globe and the phrase: 'Nothing Is Beyond Our Reach.'

Destination unknown: Very few details were revealed about the top secret spy satellite launching on an Atlas 5 rocket

The Atlas V rocket lit up the night sky at about 11:15 p.m. Thursday, lifting off from Vandenberg Air Force Base toward low-Earth orbit.

The 19-story-tall rocket carried items for the NRO, which operates the U.S. system of intelligence-gathering satellites.

The agency has not released any details about the payload but it did cover the launch of the rocket live on Twitter.

Many people have expressed doubts over whether the logo is appropriate in the current atmosphere.

Christopher Soghoian, senior policy analyst with the ACLU, tweeted: 'Advice to @ODNIgov: You may want to downplay the massive dragnet spying thing right now. This logo isn't helping.'

Odd choice: Many people expressed doubts over whether the logo was appropriate in the current atmosphere

Yet Karen Furgerson, an NRO spokesperson, told Forbes that the image and phrase fitted the mission well.

'NROL-39 is represented by the octopus, a versatile, adaptable, and highly intelligent creature. Emblematically, enemies of the United States can be reached no matter where they choose to hide,' she said.

'Nothing is beyond our reach' defines this mission and the value it brings to our nation and the warfighters it supports, who serve valiantly all over the globe, protecting our nation,' Furgerson added.

A California cold snap had threatened a possible delay of the lift-off, but the rocket took off within moments of the opening of its launch window.

Thursday's launch was the second time an Atlas 5 rocket has lifted off from the West Coast this year. Overall, there have been 77 Atlas V launches from Vandenberg and Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Up and away: Spectators watch the Atlas V rocket light up the night sky at about 11:15 p.m. Thursday, lifting off from Vandenberg Air Force Base toward low-Earth orbit

The comments below have not been moderated.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now