NRO Satellite Launched

The Air Force and its industry partners successfully launched a classified National Reconnaissance Office satellite into orbit aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket fired from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla. “Our government and industry teams have done it again with this morning’s perfect launch,” said Col. James Fisher, director of NRO’s office of space launch, of the June 29 mission in NRO’s release. He added, “All their hard work has contributed to providing superior vigilance from above for the nation.” The launch came just nine days after a ULA Atlas V rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral carrying another NRO payload into space. “To be able to support back-to-back NRO missions in just over one week speaks volumes of the partnership we have here at the 45th Space Wing,” said Brig. Gen. Anthony Cotton, wing commander, in a July 3 release. ULA officials said the June 29 launch was the inaugural flight of the RS-68A engine, an upgrade of the RS-68 with added thrust.