October 19, 2018

Delta 4 rocket launches spy satellite into space

13 January 2018, 08:27 | Dale Webster

Watch ULA Kick Off 2018 With a Spy Satellite Launch

Watch a Delta IV rocket launch a secret satellite to space

A Delta IV rocket soared away from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday afternoon, en route to delivering its clandestine cargo into space.

While details about the payload are classified, groups of amateur satellite trackers can use clues to narrow down the nature of the satellite, including its likely orbit and technology.

The rocket is said to be carrying a spy satellite for the United States government. A single RL10B-2 liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine powered the second stage.

It was the West Coast's first mission of 2018.

"The ULA #DeltaIV #NROL47" launch for the @NatReconOfc was scrubbed today due to an issue with a ground system valve.

Little is known about the payload other than the fact that ULA is launching it for the NRO.

At that point, in keeping with standard practice for classified missions, United Launch Alliance ended its coverage and the rest of the flight was carried out in secrecy.

The Graphite Epoxy Motors (GEM 60) used on the Delta IV family of rockets measure some 53-feet (16 meters) in length. These have been used on the Delta IV since its initial flight in 2002. After staging, an Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10B-2 granted some 24,750 pounds of thrust, sending the Delta IV's upper stage to orbit.

A rocket carrying a classified US satellite has blasted off from California. "We are proud to provide this national defense capability and every Team V member involved has tirelessly worked to ensure the launch is safe and successful".

"This was an incredibly important launch for the 30th Space Wing and our mission partners", Wood said.

Jim resides in the San Francisco Bay area and has attended NASA Socials for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover landing and the NASA LADEE lunar orbiter launch.

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