[SatNews] A Great Launch, Designated NROL-25, the mission is in support of national defense.
Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., (April 3, 2012) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-6 here at 4:12 p.m. PDT today. Designated NROL-25, the mission is in support of national defense.
"Congratulations to the NRO and to all the mission partners involved in this critical national security launch,” said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Mission Operations. “ULA is proud to have supported this mission and delivered critical capabilities to the men and women defending our freedom throughout the world.
NROL-25 represents the first of five National Security Space missions that will be launched by the EELV program over the next four months - including four NRO missions along with the upcoming AEHF-2 launch.
This mission was launched aboard a Delta IV Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Medium-plus 5,2 configuration vehicle, using a ULA single common booster core powered by a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RS-68 main engine, along with two Alliant Techsystems GEM 60 solid rocket motors. The five-meter diameter upper stage was powered by a PWR RL10B-2 engine with the satellite encapsulated in a five-meter diameter composite payload fairing. This was the first launch of this Delta IV vehicle configuration.
Developed by the United States Air Force to assure access to space for Department of Defense and other government payloads, the EELV Program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the heritage launch systems.
ULA's next launch is the Atlas V AEHF-2 mission for the U.S. Air Force scheduled in early May from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. ULA program management, engineering, test, and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colo. Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located at Decatur, Ala., and Harlingen, Texas. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida, and Vandenberg AFB, California.
The United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket will launch a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, the U.S. government agency that develops and owns spy satellites. The rocket will fly in the Medium+ (5,2) configuration with two solid rocket boosters.
The launch will be the first of four that the NRO has planned this year, a batch of missions that also includes an Atlas 5 on June 20 and a Delta 4-Heavy on June 28, both from Cape Canaveral, and another Atlas 5 from Vandenberg on August 2.