Mystery NRO-108 mission gets launch order for SpaceX Falcon 9 launch in October

by | Oct 12, 2020 | Launches, Military space, Satellites, Seradata News, SpaceX

According to the US Space Force on behalf of the US National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) has booked a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch to take place from the Cape Canaveral launch site in Florida on 25 October or soon afterwards. The launch had not been disclosed until recently via an FCC (Federal Communications Commission) regulatory filing. The mission has since been confirmed as a the NRO-108 mission for the US National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).  The exact nature of the mission has not been disclosed but it is thought to be either a military data relay or an electronic intelligence satellite.

The Falcon 9’s first stage booster will return to Cape Canaveral after liftoff for a touchdown at Landing Zone 1 which indicates that the rocket has performance in hand to complete the mission if going to a geostationary orbit via a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) – i.e. that the satellite is relatively light –  or that the launch is going to a much lower orbit.

The Falcon 9 first stage makes a safe return to Landing Zone 1 during launch of SAOCOM-1B. Courtesy: SpaceX

National missions on behalf of the US military usually take priority on the Cape Canaveral range unless they are unavoidably delayed as happened with the ULA operated Delta 4 Heavy launch on NRO L-44.

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