The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) partnered with the United Launch Alliance (ULA) to launch Space Force’s spy satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO) from Florida on Wednesday evening at 5:54 p.m. ET. 

ULA’s Atlas V rocket is equipped with Northrop Grumman Graphite-Epoxy Motor 63 solid rocket boosters, allowing the rocket to carry the first three Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellites for Space Force from the Space Launch Complex 41 of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. 

The NRO, which is an agency of the Department of Defense tasked with developing and launching spy satellites, released a press kit, showing how the various stages of the Atlas V rocket will allow the payload to achieve LEO. 

Wednesday’s launch was first scheduled for Nov. 3, but ULA delayed it one day to the urgent need to replace an upper payload environmental control system vent. 

“ULA is proud to play a pivotal role in support of our mission partners and national security by keeping our country safe one launch at a time,” Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs, said in a statement. 

Wentz continued: “We thank our mission partners for their continued trust and teamwork. The NROL-101 mission will be ULA’s 29th mission launched for the National Reconnaissance Office and the 17th NRO mission launched on an Atlas V.”

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President Trump pushed hard over his first term to create and equip Space Force as a bet to stay ahead of threats from China and Russia. If all goes well, and LEO is achieved, the sixth branch of the military could soon have new spy satellites to play with. 

Watch Launch Event 


Via Zerohedge