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ULA prepares for National Reconnaissance Office national security launch

Stephen Kuper

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket is in final preparations to launch the NROL-44 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to support American national security.

ULA prepares for National Reconnaissance Office national security launch
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The Delta IV Heavy is the United States’ proven heavy lifter, delivering high-priority missions for the US Space Force, NRO and NASA.

The vehicle also launched NASA's Orion capsule on its first orbital test flight and sent the Parker Solar Probe on its journey to become the fastest robot in history while surfing through the sun's atmosphere.

Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of government and commercial programs, said, “ULA is proud of the long-standing history of supporting critical national security missions and the continued partnership with our mission partners.”

This Delta IV Heavy is comprised of three common core boosters each powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68A liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine producing a combined total of more than 2.1 million pounds of thrust. The second stage is powered by an AR RL10B-2 liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine.

“Only the Delta IV Heavy possesses the capability to deliver this unique mission to orbit due to a combination of heavy lift and the largest flight-proven payload fairing,” Wentz added.

This will be the 41st launch of the Delta IV rocket, and the 12th in the Heavy configuration. To date, ULA has launched 140 times with 100 per cent mission success.

ULA has successfully delivered 140 missions to orbit that aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, deliver cutting-edge commercial services and enable GPS navigation. 

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