Delta IV Heavy launches NRO L-82 reconnaissance satellite

by | Apr 27, 2021 | Launches, Military space, Satellites

A Delta IV Heavy rocket, operated by the United Launch Alliance (ULA) launched the NRO L-82 payload into orbit on behalf of the US National Reconnaissance Office. The launch took place from Vandenberg, California at 2047 GMT on 26 April 2021.  The Delta IV Heavy consists of a core stage “common core booster” and upper stage with two large strap-on “common core boosters”. Each of the common core boosters is powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne (AR) RS-68A liquid oxygen (LOx)/liquid hydrogen engine. The second stage was powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10B-2 liquid oxygen (LOx)/liquid hydrogen engine.  In many ways, the launch vehicle is the “greenest” of launch vehicles – at least for the launch itself in producing just water vapour as the propellants burn.

View of the three RS-68 engines burning during the Delta IV Heavy launch of NRO L-82. Courtesy: ULA

US Space Command does not release satellite orbit details for its military satellites.  However, amateur observers report that the payload is in a 758 x 525 km Sun-synchronous low Earth orbit inclined at 98 degrees.  According to the reports promulgated by orbital expert Jonathan McDowell, the orbit has an “early afternoon” crossing time with a 1300 local time of descending node.  The spacecraft is believed to be a high resolution KH-11 (Crystal) reconnaissance satellite.

 

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

Landsat 9 has been launched to continue NASA Earth sciences project

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket has carried the NASA Landsat 9 (and four co-payloads) into low Earth Read more

ULA launches SBIRS GEO-5 to bolster American missile launch detection capability

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully launched the SBIRS GEO-5, TDO 3 and TDO 4 satellites into a GTO orbit Read more

Seradata Space Conference 2021: Full agenda is now available

Seradata has now completed its agenda for its two-half day (UK afternoons) virtual conference on 23-24 June 2021.  In addition, Read more

Amazon selects ULA Atlas V launches for upcoming LEO constellation Project Kuiper

Amazon has made its first official contract award for its future LEO satellite internet constellation – known as Project Kuiper. The award, Read more

US Space Force hands out four launch contracts: two apiece to ULA and SpaceX

On 9 March 2021 the US Space Force (USSF) awarded launch contracts for four upcoming missions planned to launch in Read more

NRO L-44 mission is launched successfully by upgraded Delta IV Heavy

The NRO L-44 (ORION 10) spacecraft of the US National Reconnaissance Office, was finally launched by an upgraded Delta IV Read more

ULA Atlas V launches NRO L-101

The US National Reconnaissance Office's NRO L-101 mission was launched successfully from the SLC-41 pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Read more

NASA gets serious about the Moon as it awards refueling and other demo contracts

NASA has formally awarded “Tipping Point” contracts worth a total of US$370 million to 14 firms to demonstrate new technologies Read more

Categories

Archives