After a series of weather and technical delays this month, United Launch Alliance was able to finally get a payload for the military into space.
An Atlas V rocket took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex-41 at 3:28 a.m. on Sunday on the NROL-52 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office. The payload is classified, but is in support of national security, and thought to be part of the agency’s space data system, which relays data between satellites and supports the Air Force.
“Today’s launch is a testament to the tireless dedication of the ULA team, demonstrating why ULA continues to serve as our nation’s most dependable and successful launch provider,” said Laura Maginnis, ULA vice president of Government Satellite Launch in a press release. “After recovering from Hurricane Irma that came through the area last month, and the last week’s weather challenges, the team found the right opportunity today to deliver this critical national asset to orbit.”
The launch was the seventh for ULA in 2017 and the 122nd since 2006. It’s the 26th launch for the National Reconnaissance Office.
ULA is a collaboration between Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Its next launch is the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 for NASA and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, which will be Nov. 10 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The next launch from Cape Canaveral will be from SpaceX, which plans to launch its Falcon 9 rocket with the Koreasat 5A communications satellite from Kennedy Space Center on Monday, Oct. 30. That launch window is from 3:34-5:58 p.m.
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