Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. (June 11, 2016) - The ULA Delta IV NROL-37 launch went off without a hitch on Saturday, June 11 from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The mission is for the National Reconnaissance Office in support of national defense.
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida., (June 11, 2016) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-37 June 11 at 1:51 p.m. EDT. The NROL-37 mission is in support of national defense.
“We are so honored to deliver the NROL-37 payload to orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office during today’s incredible launch,” said Laura Maginnis, ULA vice president of Custom Services. “This was the ninth time ULA launched the Delta IV Heavy, the most powerful launch vehicle in existence today.”
This mission was launched aboard a Delta IV Heavy configuration Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) which featured a center common booster core along with two strap-on common booster cores. The ULA Delta IV Heavy is currently the world’s largest rocket, providing the nation with reliable and proven heavy lift capability. Each common booster core was powered by an RS-68A Liquid Hydrogen/Liquid Oxygen engine producing 702,000 pounds of thrust. A single RL10 Liquid Hydrogen/Liquid Oxygen engine powered the second stage. The booster and upper stage engines are both built by Aerojet Rocketdyne. ULA constructed the Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle in Decatur, Alabama.
“The team worked together through many challenges this flow including overcoming the after effects of Tropical Storm Colin,” said Maginnis. We are proud of the outstanding teamwork between the ULA, NRO and Air Force partners to ensure mission success for this critical national security asset.”
ULA's next launch is the Atlas V MUOS-5 mission for the US Navy and the US Air Force. The launch is scheduled for June 24 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
The EELV program was established by the US Air Force to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense and other government payloads. The commercially developed EELV program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the heritage launch systems.
With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 100 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system.
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Flying in its Heavy configuration, the Delta IV is the largest and most powerful rocket currently in service with the United States. NROL-37 will be the thirty-second Delta IV mission and the ninth for the Heavy version of the rocket.
Few satellites are large enough to require a Delta IV Heavy to reach geosynchronous transfer orbit; past NRO launches to use the vehicle from the Cape have all gone directly to geosynchronous orbit, which suggests that the payload will be an Orion electronic signals intelligence (ELINT) satellite.
NROL-37 will be the ninth launch of an Orion satellite, part of a series of spacecraft introduced in the mid-1980s to replace the earlier Aquacade satellites.
The flight, designated NRO Launch 37 (NROL-37) is the second of the year for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), following February’s NROL-45 mission which flew from Vandenberg Air Force Base, also atop a Delta IV. It is also the second Delta launch of the year.
The Delta IV family of launch vehicles combines design simplicity, manufacturing efficiency, and streamlined mission and vehicle integration to meet customer requirements to launch high-priority US Air Force (USAF), National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), NASA, and commercial payloads to orbit.
NROL-37 will be the 32nd Delta IV mission since the vehicle’s inaugural launch in 2002, and the 10th NRO mission to launch on Delta IV.