ULA launches spy satellite from California

Watch a Delta IV rocket launch a secret satellite to space

The rocket is said to be carrying a spy satellite for the United States government. The name of the spy satellite is NROL-47, and it is a classified mission.

The United Launch Alliance successfully launched one of its Delta 4 rocket into space on January 12 from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully completed its first flight of 2018 on Friday, January 12, two days after high ground winds forced the scrubbing of the initial launch attempt and one day after a ground system valve forced a second scrub. Assuming confirmation of a problem-free launch Friday, ULA's record will stand at 124 successful flights in a row, including 27 for the NRO.

Because of the secretive nature of the mission, not much is known about the NROL-47 payload. Will Crawford, ULA's NRO program manager, said, "As the nation's most trustworthy launch provider, today's launch exemplifies ULA's ongoing commitment to 100 percent mission success". "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".

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If you see something like this in the sky this afternoon, don't panic.

The third time was the charm for United Launch Alliance and its twice-delayed NROL-47 mission. 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. As per Space.com, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), which builds and manages the spy satellites of the US, will operate the new classified NROL-47 satellite.

Col. Greg Wood, 30th Space Wing vice commander, was the launch commander.

Sunday's launch was SpaceX's third classified mission.

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