United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, has launched a National Reconnaissance Office payload from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California into orbit using an Atlas V rocket.
NROL-42 lifted off Sunday at 1:49 a.m. Eastern time aboard the Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle 541 configuration vehicle as part of NRO’s national security mission, ULA said Sunday.
EELV 541 consisted of a 5-meter payload fairing, RD Amross RD-180 engine-powered solid rocket boosters and an RL10C engine that powered the Atlas V rocket’s Centaur upper stage.
“NROL-42 marks the 25th ULA-launched NRO mission, building upon our legacy of partnership with the NRO,” said Laura Maginnis, vice president of ULA’s government satellite launch business.
Maginnis added the EELV 541 team overcame various challenges throughout the launch process that included schedule impacts from Hurricane Irma and replacements to a first stage battery.
The Air Force established the EELV program to provide Defense Department and other government payloads with access to space.
ULA aims to launch NROL-52 mission payload on Oct. 5 from Space Launch Complex-41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.