The Delta 4 rocket lifted off from coastal Vandenberg Air Force Base at 2:11 p.m. Friday and headed toward orbit. This flight marked the first of 2018 for ULA.
"This was an incredibly important launch for the 30th Space Wing and our mission partners", said Wood. It is also the 27 launch for the NRO. According to the organization's website, "together with other Defense Department satellites, the NRO systems play a crucial role in providing global communications, precision navigation, early warning of missile launches and potential military aggression, signals intelligence, and near real-time imagery to US forces to support the war on terrorism and other continuing operations". NROL-47 is NRO's 50th launch since 1996. The name of the spy satellite is NROL-47, and it is a classified mission.
Because of the secretive nature of the mission, not much is known about the NROL-47 payload. The main engine of the Delta IV is the RS-68A, manufactured by Aerojet Rocketdyne.More news: Donald Trump seemed to forget the words to the United States national anthem
On Thursday the secretive rocket was delayed for more than an hour - and then yet another hour.
The launch will happen at Space Launch Complex-6, which sits about 140 miles west of downtown Los Angeles.
There are three variants of Delta IV M+ configuration.More news: Facebook Dismisses Claim WhatsApp Chat Groups Can Be Infiltrated
Orbital ATK provided two 60-inch diameter Graphite Epoxy Motors (GEM 60) for the Delta IV rocket. The rocket is a "5, 2" variant and it featured a 5-meter-wide (16.5 feet) payload fairing, as reported by Space.com. They burned for about 90 seconds and provided more than 560,000 pounds of thrust.
The blastoff and initial phases of the rocket's flight were a success. "We are proud to provide this national defense capability, and every Team V member involved has tirelessly worked to ensure the launch is safe and successful".
Sunday's launch was SpaceX's third classified mission.More news: Minor girl's rape, killing sparks protest in Pakistan
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