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NEWS | April 26, 2021

NRO celebrates 60th anniversary with successful launch of NROL-82

By Staff

Today the Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines and U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations General Jay Raymond joined the National Reconnaissance Office Director Dr. Christopher Scolese for the successful NROL-82 mission launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy. The Delta IV Heavy launched at 1:47 p.m. PDT / 4:47 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex-6 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, carrying a classified national security payload designed, built, and operated by the NRO to support its overhead reconnaissance mission. NROL-82 is the agency’s first launch this year, following six launches and 12 payloads delivered to orbit in 2020.

“On behalf of ODNI and the entire Intelligence Community, congratulations to the National Reconnaissance Office and the agency’s mission partners on the successful NROL-82 launch,” said DNI Haines. “Today’s liftoff demonstrates the often unseen work from men and women in the IC who are dedicated to advancing our nation’s security—including to heights ‘above and beyond’ Earth. I am so honored to serve alongside extraordinary professionals and enjoyed watching their innovation, collaboration, and impact take to the skies.”

Since 1961, the NRO has pushed the envelope of U.S. space-based intelligence collection with courage and ingenuity. Today, NRO’s innovative legacy continues to thrive as it develops, acquires, launches, and operates the world’s most capable spy satellites. NROL-82 will strengthen NRO’s ability to provide a wide-range of timely intelligence information to national decision-makers, warfighters, and intelligence analysts to protect the Nation’s vital interests and support humanitarian efforts worldwide.

“We are delighted DNI Haines and General Raymond were able to join us for today’s successful launch,” said Dr. Scolese. “Space is an increasingly contested domain as our adversaries become more threatening and capable. To meet this challenge, we are expanding our commercial partnerships, adapting processes to innovate faster, and incorporating resilience from our assets on the ground to our systems on orbit. This launch is another important milestone as we rise to meet the challenges of today and the future.”

NROL-82 is the NRO’s 31st launch in partnership with ULA. Additional mission partners supporting today’s launch include the 30th Space Wing and the U.S. Space Force Space and Missile Systems Center. NRO’s collaborative partnerships with government, academic, commercial, and international organizations are vital to mission success.

The NRO’s next scheduled launch is NROL-111 later this year from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia, in collaboration with Northrop Grumman and Virginia Space/Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.