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etvfutures.com January 16, 2018


ULA set for second attempt at spy satellite launch

13 January 2018, 08:28 | Lucia Cruz

Watch ULA Kick Off 2018 With a Spy Satellite Launch

Watch a Delta IV rocket launch a secret satellite to space

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was carrying 10 satellites for Iridium Communications.

This afternoon, the United Launch Alliance is set to launch a classified spy satellite on one of its Delta IV rockets from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

NROL-47 will be operated by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), which builds and manages the United States' spy satellites.

"Orbital ATK is proud to support the NRO and ULA with key technologies that enable the launch of critical national defense satellites", said Charlie Precourt, Vice President and General Manager of Orbital ATK's Propulsion Systems Division.

The 32-story-tall mobile service tower at the Delta 4's launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California was retracted away from the rocket Thursday in advance of a planned liftoff with a top secret National Reconnaissance Office payload.

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There seemed to be concern that the launch would be delayed again Friday after ULA reported a ground system helium problem. This flight marked the first of 2018 for ULA.

While details about the payload are classified, groups of amateur satellite trackers can use clues to narrow down the nature of the satellite, including its likely orbit and technology.

Thursday morning's weather report from the 30th Space Wing showed an 80 percent chance of favorable conditions, a considerable improvement over the previous day's 40 percent. Each configuration is comprised of a common booster core (CBC), a cryogenic upper stage and either a 4-m-diameter or 5-m-diameter payload fairing (PLF).

The blastoff and initial phases of the rocket's flight were a success.

Founded in 2006, ULA is a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin. As a young Star Trek fan he participated in the letter-writing campaign which resulted in the space shuttle prototype being named Enterprise.



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