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Launch

NRO Mission

For sixty years, the NRO has developed, acquired, launched and operated the satellites that are the foundation for America’s advantage and strength in space. Using a diversified and resilient architecture of spacecraft, NRO collects and delivers the best space-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance content on the planet. NRO data supports the National Security Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and other NRO mission partners to produce intelligence products for the President, Congress, national policymakers, warfighters, and civil users. The NRO’s hybrid overhead architecture designed to provide global coverage against a wide range of intelligence requirements, carry out research and development efforts, and assist emergency and disaster-relief efforts in the U.S. and around the world.


Current/Upcoming Launches

NROL-91NROL-162 logo

The National Reconnaissance Office is scheduled to launch the NROL-91 mission aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California. Carrying a national security payload designed, built and operated by NRO, NROL-91 supports the overall national security mission to provide intelligence data to the United States’ senior policy makers, the Intelligence Community and Department of Defense. NROL-91 is NRO’s fifth launch of 2022, and is part of more than a half-dozen planned launches for the year.

About the NROL-91 Patch

The NROL-91 Logo was designed to pay tribute to those brave individuals who sacrificed and laid it all on the line in the fight to preserve our freedom. In particular, it honors the heroism of our diminishing group of World War
II Veterans.
The American officer is modeled after Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe, who was aptly referred to as Gen. “Nuts” McAuliffe. Gen. McAuliffe was later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by Gen. Patton for his actions at Bastogne. The combined NROL-91 team embrace the indefatigable “no surrender” attitude of the Battered Bastards of Bastogne and honor their selfless sacrifice and lost comrades who gave all in the defense of our freedom.
Another major design feature within the logo is an image of a Bailey Bridge with tanks rolling over it. The Bailey Bridge was first used in WWII and directly contributed to many of Allied successes due to its portability and strength, proving strong enough to carry tanks. The NROL-91 logo includes the image of the Bailey Bridge to symbolize the ability to overcome and adapt at a moment’s notice in the presence of adversity. There is also a bird of prey in the background across the US flag, known for their strength, endurance, and protective nature; many traits inherent in our American Warfighters.
Along with the standard mission number, launch base, and booster type, the words “Dedicated to the Great Task Remaining…” are emblazoned around the seal. This short phrase derives from President Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address, in which he called upon his fellow citizens to take up the great cause for liberty initially put forward by our Forefathers in 1776. We dedicate this mission to protecting our Warfighters deployed in harm’s way and to the furtherance of that noble cause.


Rocket & Launch FactsElectron rocket

United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy is a heavy-lift launch vehicle, the largest type of the Delta IV family and one of the world’s most powerful rockets. The Delta IV Heavy configuration is comprised of a common booster core (CBC), a cryogenic upper stage and a 5-meter-diameter payload fairing (PLF). The Delta IV Heavy employs two additional CBCs as liquid rocket boosters to augment the first-stage CBC. The Delta IV Heavy can lift 28,370 kg (62,540 lbs) to low Earth orbit and 13,810 kg (30,440 lbs) to geostationary transfer orbit. It is an all liquid-fueled rocket, consisting of an upper stage, one main booster and two strap-on boosters.

Payload Fairing (PLF)

The PLF encapsulates the spacecraft to protect it from the launch environment on ascent. The 19.2-m (63-ft) long PLF makes the vehicle’s height approximately 71.0 m (233 ft).

Delta Cryogenic Second Stage (DCSS)

The DCSS is a cryogenic liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen fueled vehicle, with a single RL10C-2-1 engine that produces 110.1 kilo-Newtons (24,750 lbs) of thrust.

Boosters

The Delta IV booster propulsion is provided by three liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen-burning RS-68A engines. Each RS-68A engine produces 312.3 kilo-Newtons (705,250 lbs) of thrust for a combined total liftoff thrust of more than 2.1 million pounds.  

 


Site Info

NROL-91 will launch from Space Launch Complex 6 (SLC-6) at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California. The first launch from SLC-6 was on an Athena I rocket in August 1995. In 2000, United Launch Alliance took over 
SLC-6 and re-fitted it to serve as the west coast home for the Delta IV launch vehicle family with modifications to the Assembly Building, Mobile Service Tower, Launch Tower, and other support structures. 

 

NROL-91 Press Release


NROL-91 Press Kit                         

NROL-91 Press Kit 

18x24" Poster Download


 


NRO Previous Launches

Click on each of the mission patches to learn about each launch.

2022