A United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office lifted off from Space Launch Complex-37 here at 6:38 p.m. EST today. Designated NROL-27, the mission is in support of national defense. This marks the fourth NRO launch accomplished by ULA since Sept. 20, 2010 and occurred just six days after the Atlas V launch of the OTV-2 mission.
Previously, ULA launched NROL-41 on an Atlas V from Vandenberg AFB, Calif. on Sept. 20, 2010. Then it launched NROL-32 on a Delta IV Heavy from here Nov. 21, 2010 and on Jan. 20, 2011 ULA launched NROL-49 on a Delta IV Heavy from VAFB.
"Congratulations to the NRO and to all the mission partners involved in this critical national security launch," said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Mission Operations. "ULA is very proud to have supported the NRO with this fourth successful launch in such a short period of time. Our launch team understands the importance these missions play in protecting our freedoms and supporting our brave men and women deployed around the world."
The Delta IV Medium+ (4,2) configuration launch vehicle used a single common booster core with a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RS-68 main engine; two Alliant Techsystems GEM 60 solid rocket motors; a PWR RL10B-2 upper stage engine; and a four-meter diameter upper stage and composite payload fairing. The NROL-27 launch marked the seventh flight of the Delta IV medium+ (4,2) configuration and the 16th flight of the Delta IV family of launch vehicles.
ULA's next launch is the Atlas V NROL-34 mission currently scheduled for April 12, 2011 from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
ULA program management, engineering, test and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colo. Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located at Decatur, Ala., Harlingen, Tex. and San Diego, Calif. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., and Vandenberg AFB, Calif.
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