Spy Satellite Launched. The United States military has successfully launched a rocket with a spy satellite in California. The Atlas V blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base carrying a national security payload.
The payload was for the National Reconnaissance Office, which is responsible for developing and operating satellites used to gather intelligence.
Officials had delayed the lift-off from its original schedule of Tuesday to evaluate issues related to an avionics component. “The wind cooperated with us this evening enabling us to launch without compromising public safety,” Col. Richard Boltz, 30th Space Wing commander, said in a statement.
The rocket, one of three types used to carry payloads such as weather and telecommunications satellites, is unique because it has only one common core booster instead of the usual two attached to its side. Its classified payload has been designated NROL-34.
Jim Sponnick, vice president of United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing that provides the military with space launch services, said it was the fifth rocket it had launched in seven months under a plan of the National Reconnaissance Office and the Air Force.
“With each of these incredibly important launches, we are reminded of the role we play in offering enhanced effectiveness and safety to the men and women protecting our country,” he said.
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