The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) successfully launched its NROL-101 mission aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Florida at 5:32 p.m. EST on November 13.
NROL-101 was the agency’s fourth launch in 2020. The mission carried a classified national security payload designed, built and operated by the NRO in support of its overhead reconnaissance mission.
“We’re excited to be back at CCAFS with another successful launch alongside our partners at ULA, the 45th Space Wing, and the U.S. Space Force Space and Missile Systems Center. The successful launch of NROL-101 is another example of the NRO’s commitment to constantly evolving our crucial national security systems to support our defense and intelligence partners,” said U.S. Space Force Colonel Chad Davis, Director of the NRO’s Office of Space Launch.
“2020 has been an especially challenging year for the launch and space community given the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m continually impressed by our partners and our NRO team members on their ability to find new and innovative ways to collaborate in this environment and ensure we are meeting our mission requirements while prioritizing the safety, security and health of our entire launch team,” said Davis.
Data collected by NRO’s national security systems is used to provide intelligence to senior policy makers, the Intelligence Community and Department of Defense, as well as U.S. allied partners. Additionally, information collected by NRO systems can be used to assist emergency and disaster relief efforts in the U.S. and around the world.