United Launch Alliance successfully launched a satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) aboard a Delta 4 rocket from a launch complex at Vandenberg Air Force base in California Friday.
The satellite is part of a national security mission operated by the NRO, designated NROL-47. The NRO, which handles intelligence satellites for the United States government, has not released specific information about the payload. The website SpaceFlight Insider suggested it may be a radar satellite.
“As the nation’s most trustworthy launch provider, today’s launch exemplifies ULA’s ongoing commitment to 100 percent mission success,” Will Crawford, ULA’s NRO program manager, said in a statement.
Friday’s launch was the first of the year for ULA, a joint venture from Lockheed Martin and Boeing. The success comes less than a week after an apparent satellite deployment failure involving ULA’s competitor, SpaceX. In a statement, SpaceX has maintained that its Falcon 9 rocket did not contribute to the reported failure of Zuma.