When launching a massive load, you need a huge rocket, such as United Launch Alliance's (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket that will carry a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).
Lift-off from ULA's Space Launch Complex-6 on December 7 at 8:19 p.m. PT. Designated NROL-71, the mission is in support of national defense.
The Delta IV Heavy is the nation’s proven heavy lifter, delivering high-priority missions for the National Reconnaissance Office, U.S. Air Force and NASA.
With its advanced upper stage, the Delta IV Heavy can take more than 14,000 pounds directly to geosynchronous orbit, as well as a wide variety of complex interplanetary trajectories.
“We are proud to launch this critical payload in support of our nation’s national security mission,” said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs. “As the nation’s premiere launch provider, the teams have worked diligently to ensure continued mission success, delivering our customer’s payloads to the precise orbits requested.”
This Delta IV Heavy is comprised of three common booster cores each powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68A liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine producing a combined total of more than 2.1 million pounds of thrust. The second stage is powered by an AR RL10B-2 liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine.
To date ULA has a track record of 100 percent mission success with 131 successful launches.
With more than a century of combined heritage, ULA is an experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 130 satellites to orbit that provide Earth observation capabilities, enable global communications, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, and support life-saving technology.