NRO Launch Set for Friday After One-Day Delay

The Air Force on Aug. 2 announced a one-day delay to the scheduled launch of a National Reconnaissance Office payload into orbit. Liftoff of the Atlas V rocket carrying the NROL-36 payload from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., is now set for Aug. 3 at 12:27 a.m. California time. The launch delay’s cause was an “uprange instrumentation issue,” states Vandy’s release. There were no issues with the Atlas V or the payload, it states. This mission is the last of four scheduled NRO launches in 2012, according to an NRO release. It’s also notable because it marks the first NRO Atlas V mission that includes ancillary payloads to demonstrate cutting-edge technologies, conduct unique scientific experiments, and validate new operational concepts, states the release. These ancillary payloads are in the form of small-sized CubeSats. “We have long recognized that there are benefits and efficiencies to be gained through rideshare in space launch,” said NRO Director Betty Sapp.