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News | March 21, 2023

NROL Patch Descriptions for Patch Madness, Sweet 16

By Staff

NRO Launch (NROL) patches are a highlight of every mission. Every patch meaning has a story and is unique to each launch. Starting March 21, NRO will conduct the first Patch Madness competition. Like March Madness, there will be head-to-head matches to reveal which patch is the most beloved. There will be daily polls on Twitter (@natreconofc) where you can vote for your favorite NROL patch. As some patches are from years ago, below is detailed look at each NROL patch that will be a part of this year’s Patch Madness.




Launched in 2012, NROL-25’s patch uses the Cretan Bull to show the power and determination of the mission to protect our nation. Left alone the bull remains peaceful, but will charge if provoked. “Victoria Commissa Omnibus”-> Committed to the Victory for All.




This 2014 Goddess glows with light from within, a refuge from the black expanse of space. From her perch high above she watches over, confident and harnessing earth, wind, and fire for humanity’s use.





Warriors of mythology had the support of the hardworking and strong Vulcan who forged their weapons and armor. While today’s warfighters do not require heavenly weapons, the support they receive from space is no less important. NROL-55 sought to cement this support in 2015.




In 2016, NROL-45 launched with this loyal friend. Rottweilers, known for their strength, intelligence, and noble character, ensure that no adversary escapes. NROL-45’s mission anchors the intelligence community as the star Sirius anchors the constellation Canis Major. 





Spike the Lizard was in for a wild ride in 2016. This is a favorite for many then and even now. It took a crazy lizard to hang onto an Atlas V, but Spike was up for the challenge!




“Victoriam Per Intelligentiam!” -> Victory through intelligence! In 2017, NRO personified this phrase with Athena. As a fierce warrior and the goddess of wisdom, she like NRO supports the warfighter home and abroad.




Like Lewis and Clark, NRO seeks to explore beyond the known. In 2017, NROL-76 featured the famous duo with this blast from the past patch.





NROL-42 was NRO’s third launch of 2017. The sweeping motion of the rocket resembles the silhouette of the Atlas V that took this Grizzly bear to orbit. 




A wolf’s howl is the first warning to the pack of potential trouble. This wolf’s howl, aimed at space in 2020, represents NRO’s satellites that operate tirelessly in support of defense and intelligence operations.





“Peace through strength” this phrase was chosen as the NROL-108 mission sought to increase global awareness of adversarial actions. The extremely powerful gorilla beasts his chest and bares teeth toward perceived threats.





The #NROL82 mission patch commemorates the many heroic acts and sacrifices made to protect our way of life. The logo depicts an eagle, America's symbol of freedom, wearing the flight gear of a WWII Fighter Ace, specifically Gregory "Pappy" Boyington.




The #NROL87 launch patch features a wild mountain goat, standing proud on the mountaintop, watchfully alert. So too, NRO maintains constant vigilance from above in protecting our nation and its citizens.




Each launch patch tells a story. For #NROL85, three stars represent guidance, protection & allegiance. The tiger in the cat's reflection demonstrates that while space can be challenging, a determined attitude helps NRO go #AboveandBeyond to protect our nation.




It's the NROL-162 frilled lizard! Primarily found in Northern Australia, this lizard is small but mighty, and represents the small and agile nature of the payload NRO launched in 2022.




This dingo is built for speed, agility, and stamina. The dingo is symbolic of the payload launched on NROL-199 last year.




NROL-91’s patch design pays tribute to our warfighters, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. The image of Gen. "Nuts" McAuliffe is a nod to his "no surrender" attitude during the Siege of Bastogne and his famous one-word reply to the Germans, "Nuts!"