NRO Satellite Launched

The Air Force and its industry partners launched a National Reconnaissance Office satellite into space on Sept. 13 from Vandenberg AFB, Calif. A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carried the satellite into orbit. “It’s an honor to work alongside the men and women of Team Vandenberg, United Launch Alliance, the National Reconnaissance Office, and our mission partners,” said Col. Nina Armagno, Vandy’s 30th Space Wing commander, in a base release. She added, “These synergistic relationships are what guide Vandenberg to continual mission success and lead us into the next generation of spaceport excellence.” NRO officials have said this mission, NROL-36, marked the first time that an NRO Atlas V launch included ancillary payloads, called CubeSats, to demonstrate cutting-edge technologies, conduct scientific experiments, and validate operational concepts. Range instrumentation issues delayed this launch by some six weeks.