A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-37 June 11 at 1:51 p.m. EDT. The NROL-37 mission is in support of national defense.
«We are so honored to deliver the NROL-37 payload to orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office during today’s incredible launch», said Laura Maginnis, ULA vice president of Custom Services. «This was the ninth time ULA launched the Delta IV Heavy, the most powerful launch vehicle in existence today».
This mission was launched aboard a Delta IV Heavy configuration Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV), which featured a center common booster core along with two strap-on common booster cores. The ULA Delta IV Heavy is currently the world’s largest rocket, providing the nation with reliable and proven heavy lift capability. Each common booster core was powered by an RS-68A liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine producing 702,000 pounds/318,422 kg of thrust. A single RL10 liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine powered the second stage. The booster and upper stage engines are both built by Aerojet Rocketdyne. ULA constructed the Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle in Decatur, Alabama.
«The team worked together through many challenges this flow including, overcoming the aftereffects of Tropical Storm Colin», said Maginnis. «We are proud of the outstanding teamwork between the ULA, NRO and Air Force partners to ensure mission success for this critical national security asset».
ULA’s next launch is the Atlas V MUOS-5 mission for the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force. The launch is scheduled for June 24 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
The EELV program was established by the U.S. Air Force to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense and other government payloads. The commercially developed EELV program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the heritage launch systems.
With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 100 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system.
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket carrying the NROL-37 mission lifted off June 11, 2016, from Space Launch Complex-37 at 1:51 p.m. EDT