Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Science | By Eileen Rhodes

Delta IV Rocket Launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base called off Thursday

Delta IV Rocket Launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base called off Thursday

The top secret NRO missions are generally classified - so it is unclear what specifically the satellite will be doing on its orbit around earth. The rocket launched a national security payload, designated NROL-47, for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) in support of a national defense mission.

The launch had initially been planned for Wednesday, but was pushed to a day later due to high ground winds, base officials reported Wednesday.

Because of the secretive nature of the mission, not much is known about the NROL-47 payload.

"As the nation's most trustworthy launch provider, today's launch exemplifies ULA's ongoing commitment to 100 percent mission success", said Will Crawford, ULA's NRO program manager. The mission will see the aerospace company launch a spy satellite into orbit using its Delta IV rocket.

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Mission NROL-47 is scheduled for Vandenberg's Space Launch Complex-6 near the Pacific Ocean, about 10 miles west of Lompoc and 140 miles west-northwest of downtown Los Angeles. He also thanked the entire ULA team as well as the mission partners at the NRO and also the U.S. Airforce for making the 27th NRO launch a successful one. Beginning in 2019, Orbital ATK will provide upgraded GEM 60 solid rocket boosters, designated GEM 63 and GEM 63XL, for ULA's Atlas V and new Vulcan launch vehicles, respectively.

At that point, in keeping with standard practice for classified missions, United Launch Alliance ended its coverage and the rest of the flight was carried out in secrecy.

A ground system helium problem caused blastoff to be delayed by more than hour.

Col. Greg Wood, 30th Space Wing vice commander, was the space launch commander. "This will be the first of two launches scheduled for NRO in 2018".

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