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NRO launches second dedicated mission with SpaceX

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The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) successfully launched its NROL-108 mission aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Launch Complex 39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, at 9:00 a.m. EST on Dec. 19, 2020. 

The mission carried a classified national security payload designed, built, and operated by the NRO in support of its overhead reconnaissance mission. 

“We are excited to partner with SpaceX again,” said NRO’s Principal Deputy Director Dr. Troy Meink. NRO’s first dedicated launch with SpaceX was NROL-76 in May 2017. 

“The successful launch of NROL-108 by SpaceX just days after the launch of NROL-44 by United Launch Alliance, underscores NRO’s commitment to a robust launch schedule supported by a growing number of partners and locations,” Meink continued. “Despite the challenges of 2020, NRO this year has successfully launched six missions from two countries. We are dedicated to delivering reconnaissance capabilities that keep this nation and our allies safe, while prioritizing the security and health of our launch teams.”

Data collected by NRO’s national security systems are used to provide intelligence to United States’ 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.