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News | June 15, 2021

NRO returns to Virginia’s Space Coast with NROL-111

By Staff

CHANTILLY, Va. — Today the National Reconnaissance Office, in collaboration with U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, Northrop Grumman, and Virginia Space/Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, successfully launched the NROL-111 mission aboard a Northrop Grumman Minotaur I. The Minotaur I launched at 9:35 a.m. EDT from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia carrying three classified national security payloads designed, built, and operated by the NRO to support its overhead reconnaissance mission. NROL-111 is the agency’s second dedicated launch from Virginia.

“NRO is the best in the world at delivering space-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to more than 500,000 government users working together to keep America safe,” said NRO Director Dr. Christopher Scolese. “NROL-111 is the 16th payload we put on orbit in 18 months to advance our mission of providing critical information to every member of the Intelligence Community, two dozen domestic agencies, our nation’s military, lawmakers, and decision makers.”
For the past 60 years, the NRO has been successfully innovating and meeting the needs of its U.S. intelligence, military, and federal civil partners and today remains the world’s leader in unique intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems.

“NROL-111 continues NRO’s 60-year legacy of pushing the envelope of the possible through ingenuity and collaboration,” said NRO Principal Deputy Director Dr. Troy Meink. “Our legacy is carried on by the dedicated men and women of the NRO, and supported by our talented mission partners, who made today’s launch a success.”
NROL-111 is NRO’s final scheduled launch for 2021. In 2022, NRO is scheduled to start the year with two launches from New Zealand in January and February, NROL-162 and NROL-199. Also in February, NROL-87 is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base. Three additional NRO missions are planned for later in 2022.
Additional information on launch dates will be announced on NRO’s official social media sites.