The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) was proud to partner with United Launch Alliance (ULA) on our eighth launch aboard a Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle. The NROL-44 mission launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and carried a national security payload designed, built and operated by the agency. NROL-44 supported NRO’s overall national security mission to provide intelligence data to the United States’ senior policy makers, the Intelligence Community and Department of Defense. This was our 30th launch in partnership with ULA, alongside other mission partners at U.S. Space Force Space and Missile Systems Center and the 45th Space Wing.

NROL-44 Mission Emblem

About the Mission Emblem

The five wolves show the solidarity across the FVEY community, and the pack represents the solidarity of the nation in leveraging and supporting the warning sentry.

The wolf's howl represents a warning to the pack as the first point of detection at signs of trouble. The wolf's voice, in this representation is directed toward space, where the NRO spacecraft are operating the agency's overhead collection mission in support of both defense and intelligence operations.

Launch Vehicle

Delta IV Heavy

United Launch Alliance logo 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.


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

Space Launch Complex 37 (SLC-37)

NROL-44 launched from Space Launch Complex 37 (SLC-37), the East Coast home of the Delta IV rocket at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida. SLC-37 is a classic launch pad design with a Fixed Umbilical Tower and a Mobile Service Tower. NASA constructed SLC-37 in the 1960s for un-crewed test flights in the Apollo- Saturn program. The complex consists of two launch pads, SLC-37A and SLC-37B; SLC-37A has never been used, but SLC-37B launched un-crewed Saturn I flights (1964 to 1965) and Saturn IB flights (1966 to 1968), including the first un-crewed test of the Apollo Lunar Module in space. Starting in the late 1990s, SLC-37B was modified to serve as the launch site for Delta IV.

Delta 4 Heavy Illustration

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