While offering somewhat less than the launch cadence of its SpaceX competitor, nevertheless, the Boeing/Lockeed Martin jointly owned launch provider, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) is still making some important launches. After a delay from the day before caused by a ground system pneumatic valve, at 1018 GMT on 22 June 2023 a Delta IV-Heavy launched from pad SLC-37B at Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA. The penultimate launch of the Delta IV Heavy (DELTA IVH-4050H (UPGRADED)) was carrying the secret NRO L-68 spacecraft mission on behalf of the US National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).
The fact that the launch took place flying Eastwards to a relatively low inclination orbit has made analysts assume that the launch was carrying an “Advanced Orion/Mentor” electronic intelligence (ELINT) satellite to be placed into an eventual geosynchronous (GSO) or geostationary Earth orbit (GEO).
LAUNCH! ULA Delta IV-Heavy launches from SLC-37B with NROL-68.
— Chris Bergin – NSF (@NASASpaceflight) June 22, 2023
There were few clues about the mission on the NRO L-68 dragon logo mission patch.