Watch ULA Begin 2018 With a Spy Satellite Launch

Lena Tucker
January 14, 2018

A rocket carrying a classified US satellite blasted off from California Friday.

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.

UPDATE (4:45 p.m.): Thursday's scheduled Delta IV launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base has been called off.

The original launch date was Wednesday, but was pushed back until Thursday due to weather. "My honest thanks to the entire ULA team and our mission partners at the NRO and U.S. Air Force who made this, our 27th NRO launch, possible". As usual, no one knows what the NROL-47 satellite is all about and what its mission is.

"This was an incredibly important launch for the 30th Space Wing and our mission partners", Wood said.

The NRO is the U.S, Government agency in charge of designing, building, launching and maintaining America's fleet of intelligence satellites.

The mission will see ULA's Delta IV Medium rocket carry NROL-47 spacecraft into low-Earth orbit.

Additionally, Orbital ATK manufactured the propellant tank for the Delta IV upper stage roll control system at the company's Commerce, California, facility, and designed and manufactured the nozzle for the Delta IV's RS-68A engine at its Promontory, Utah, facility. "Latest weather briefing shows an 80% chance of favorable weather".

The launch, NROL-47, will mark ULA's 27th mission for the National Reconnaissance Office.

The launch was then delayed by about an hour due to a ground system helium issue. "We are proud to provide this national defense capability, and every Team V member involved has tirelessly worked to ensure the launch is safe and successful". "This will be the first of two launches scheduled for NRO in 2018".

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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