ULA set for second attempt at spy satellite launch

ULA set for second attempt at spy satellite launch

The Delta IV rocket will deliver a national security satellite into space as part of mission NROL-47 from the National Reconnaissance Office. This will be ULA's first launch of 2018, and the 27th launch for the US National Reconnaissance Office, which operates a host of satellites used for intelligence gathering and surveillance.

The NRO mission patch sports Latin words that translated into "Evil will never prevail", a ULA representative said.

Consuming almost 2,000 pounds of liquid propellant per second, the 220-foot-tall rocket rapidly accelerated as it climbed out of the thick lower atmosphere, discarding the strap-ons about one minute and 40 seconds after liftoff. However, this was not the only variable thrown at the launch team with an issue with a ground system valve forcing mission managers to call a scrub for the Thursday, Jan. 11 launch attempt (s) as well.

Little is known about the payload other than the fact that ULA is launching it for the NRO.

United Launch Alliance, headquartered in Denver, is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and the Boeing Co.

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The Delta IV launch system is available in five configurations: the Delta IV Medium (Delta IV M), three variants of the Delta IV Medium-Plus (Delta IV M+), and the Delta IV Heavy (Delta IV H).

"We are ready and eager to take on this Delta launch", said Col. Greg Wood, 30th Space Wing vice commander, in a base news release. Orbital ATK's contributions to the Delta IV include cutting-edge technologies from across the company, including two Graphite Epoxy Motors (GEM 60), large composite structures and the propellant tank and nozzle for the main engine.

"It's a national security payload and this mission will ensure the warfighters across the globe have the appropriate intel that they need to support operations", said Maj.

Live coverage of the highly classified flight ended when the satellite payload separated from the rocket, less than four minutes after liftoff.

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