The United Launch Alliance (ULA) launched the classified NROL-52 satellite mission to space on Oct. 15, Sunday at 3:28 a.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on behalf of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).
This is the fourth mission carried out of the NRO and the sixth flight for the Atlas V this year. The launch has been deferred for more than a week due to the inconsistent weather and the need to replace the telemetry transmitter.
Weather Concern And Technical Glitch Caused The Problem
"Today's launch is a testament to the tireless dedication of the ULA team, demonstrating why ULA continues to serve as our nation's most dependable and successful launch provider," said Laura Maginnis, ULA vice president of Government Satellite Launch.
The Space Coast in Florida has been hit by strong winds over the past week, leading to the cancellation of the two preceding launch attempts. The weather condition on the third trial has been stable enough to permit the launch. However, a technical glitch happens particularly in the telemetry transmitter. Additionally, the booster rolled back to the Vertical Integration Facility near to SLC-41, where it was repaired and tested.
Maginnis also said that the team recovered from hurricane last month and from the weather last week. The launch on Oct. 15 was the right time for the team to send the critical national asset to space.
What Is The Mission?
The NROL-52 and the NROL-42 reconnaissance satellite, launched on Sept. 24, were created by the U.S. NRO, operating the nation's fleet of spy satellites. The mission of NRO are classified, as it is uncertain what the NROL-52 would be looking for because it runs around the Earth with undisclosed orbit. Meanwhile, this is the 122nd successful launch of ULA ever since it started in December 2006.
United States Air Force established the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program to give space for Department of Defense. The program helps the government mission while it delivers schedule and provides cost savings to legacy launch systems.
ULA is the most accomplished launch service provider. It carried over 120 satellites to help meteorologists track the severe weather, uncover the solar system's mysteries, present crucial skills for troops, and allow personal device-based GPS navigation.
The next launch of ULA will be the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 on Nov. 10 at 1:47 a.m. PST on behalf of NASA and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.