A National Reconnaissance Office payload lifted off Friday at 2:11 p.m. Pacific time aboard a United Launch Alliance-built Delta IV rocket as part of the NROL-47 national defense mission.
Will Crawford, NRO program manager at ULA, said in a statement published Friday the payload's launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California marks the Boeing–Lockheed Martin joint venture's 27th NRO mission in partnership with the agency and the U.S. Air Force.
The company launched NROL-47 using a Delta IV Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Medium+ (5, 2) configuration that has two Orbital ATK-built solid rocket motors and Aerojet Rocketdyne-made common booster core and upper stage engines.
The Air Force created the EELV program to provide the Defense Department and other government payloads access to space.
The launch marks ULA's first mission in 2018 and Delta IV's 36th flight since the company initially deployed the rocket in 2002.
ULA said it is scheduled to launch Thursday, Jan. 18, the Lockheed-built Space Based Infrared System GEO Flight 4 satellite aboard an Atlas V rocket from a launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.