CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — United Launch Alliance successfully launched a Delta IV Heavy carrying the National Reconnaissance Office's classified spy satellite.
What You Need To Know
- THe launch took place at 8:09 p.m. EST
- It is ULA’s 30th mission for NRO
- Go to more space coverage here
The Delta IV Heavy took off from the Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
The original launch window was set to open at 6:15 p.m. EST, but was pushed back to 8:09 p.m. EST.
While this is the 142nd launch for ULA, it is the company’s 30th mission for NRO.
The payload aboard the Delta IV Heavy is the NROL-44, a classified satellite for the NRO.
On its website, the only information the NRO revealed about satellite is that it is “a national security payload” and that its national security mission is to “provide intelligence data” to the U.S. Department of Defense and the nation’s intelligence community.
In a tweet, ULA stated that there is a 90% chance of acceptable weather conditions.
The updated #DeltaIVHeavy launch forecast for this evening continues to indicate a 90 percent chance of acceptable conditions. The outlook predicts good visibility, light winds and a temperature near 60 degrees F. https://t.co/GKgbdk3wMm pic.twitter.com/ihTIxAFUX1— ULA (@ulalaunch) December 10, 2020
The last time ULA attempted to launch an NRO classified satellite, it was pushed back multiple times due to such things as Hurricane Eta and a ground-system valve problem.
However, ULA was able to launch the NROL-101 on Friday, November 13, 2020.
It's the first of two launches expected in the next two days. SpaceX will try to launch a Falcon 9 rocket Friday morning at 11:20 a.m. from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.