Delta IV Heavy chosen for third spy satellite launch

The National Reconnaissance Office has awarded United Launch Services $157 million to launch one of its spy satellites into orbit aboard one of ULA’s Delta IV Heavy rockets.

The NRO is charged with developing, acquiring and overseeing the nation’s spy satellites and collecting satellite intelligence on behalf of the broader intelligence community.

The $156,752,771 sole source contract modification will cover the launch of the third of three spy satellites — NROL- 68, NROL-70 and NROL-91 — bringing the total face value of the contract to $467,537,345. The contract for the first mission was awarded Oct. 24, 2018. All three satellites were specifically designed to be launched on the Delta IV Heavy, according to a document justifying the sole source award.

Because NRO satellites are classified, little is known about the payload being launched. Work is expected to be completed by January 2024.

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