ULA launches spy satellite launch from California

Watch a Delta IV rocket launch a secret satellite to space

Watch a Delta IV rocket launch a secret satellite to space

If the weather permits it - you can also watch the launch directly from the ULA website with commentary. This latest mission patch is part of a long tradition of just plainly weird patches that the NRO issues for each classified launch. The Delta IV rocket was supposed to take off today at 4PM ET, but ULA said it's working on a technical issue that's delaying the launch. The mission was ULA's 27th for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.

At that point, in keeping with standard practice for classified missions, United Launch Alliance ended its coverage and the rest of the flight was carried out in secrecy.

This is ULA's first launch in 2018 and the 124 successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.

There are three variants of Delta IV M+ configuration.

Orbital ATK provided two 60-inch diameter Graphite Epoxy Motors (GEM 60) for the Delta IV rocket. They burned for about 90 seconds and provided more than 560,000 pounds of thrust.

The GEM 60s provided additional thrust to the lone Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68A engine located in the Delta IV's first stage.

The blastoff and initial phases of the rocket's flight were a success. While it's no longer a secret, it does still use its systems to collect information and "Play a crucial role in providing global communications, precision navigation, early warning of missile launches and potential military aggression, signals intelligence, and near real-time imagery to USA forces to support the war on terrorism and other continuing operations", according to the NRO site.

Jim resides in the San Francisco Bay area and has attended NASA Socials for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover landing and the NASA LADEE lunar orbiter launch.

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