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ULA-Built Delta IV Heavy Rocket Sends NRO Satellite Into Orbit

Delta IV Heavy rocket
Delta IV Heavy rocket

United Launch Alliance (ULA) announced on Monday the successful launch of its Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle carrying the NROL-82 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), marking the 143rd successful ULA launch to date with a 100 percent mission success rate.

The rocket lifted off from Space Launch Complex 6 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to send an NRO satellite into orbit for national security efforts.

"The unmatched power of the Delta IV Heavy again demonstrated its role as the nation's proven heavy-lift vehicle precisely delivering this critical NRO asset to its intended orbit. We are honored to support the national security space and thank our mission partners for their continued trust and teamwork,” commented Gary Wentz, vice president of government and commercial programs at ULA.

The recent mission was Delta IV’s 42nd launch and the 13th in the Heavy configuration. It was also ULA's 31st launch associated with NRO.

The rocket is made up of three common core boosters each powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne (AR) RS-68A liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine that can produce 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.

The Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle has successfully delivered on essential missions for the U.S. Space Force (USSF), NRO and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It also launched NASA's Orion capsule– a critical element of the space agency's Artemis Program– on its first orbital test flight and sent the Parker Solar Probe on its journey to unlock the mysteries of the sun.

ULA's next scheduled launch is the Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO Flight 5 mission for the USSF, scheduled for May 17, pending weather conditions, at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

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Written by Noah Chelednik

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