The National Reconnaissance Office, in partnership with U.S. Space Force’s Space Launch Delta 45 (SLD 45), Space Systems Command (SSC), and United Launch Alliance (ULA), successfully launched the second-to-last Delta IV Heavy rocket from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS) with the NROL-68 mission on June 22, 2023, at 5:18 a.m. EDT.

NROL-68 Mission Emblem

About the Mission Emblem

The baby dragon illustrates the birth of a new satellite system while the moon with the mother dragon silhouette represent protection of the Five Eyes community, the nation, and its allies. The passage along the bottom, NUSQUAM CELARE is Latin for“Nowhere to Hide.”The baby dragon may be science fiction, but NROL-68’s impact on national security is real! To read more about NRO launches and previous patches, visit defense of our freedom. Download the NROL-68 Poster.

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 19.8 m (65 ft) long PLF makes the vehicle’s height approximately 71.5 m (235 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 24,750 lbf (110 kN) 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 705,250 lbf (3,137 kN) of thrust for a combined total liftoff thrust of more than 2.1 million lbf (9.4 mega-Newtons).

Site Info

Space Launch Complex 37 (SLC-37)

NROL-68 will launch from Space Launch Complex-37 (SLC-37) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida. SLC-37 was built in 1962 for earlier programs and retrofitted in 1998 to launch Delta IV vehicles. The first Delta IV Heavy launch from SLC-37 was in December 2005. NROL-68 will be the sixth and penultimate Delta IV Heavy launch from Cape Canaveral.

Delta 4 Heavy Illustration

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