Lift off of an Atlas V rocket carrying the National Reconnaissance Office payload came at 3:28 a.m. EDT Oct. 15 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
It had been set for Oct. 5 but the launch was scrubbed four times, pushed first one day and then another by inclement weather. Then a hardware issue with a telemetry transmitter on the launch vehicle forced a third scrub before more bad weather prompted a fourth postponement.
The latest mission was ULA’s 26th for the NRO. Its last such mission came just Sept. 23, when ULA also launched a military spy satellite atop an Atlas 5.
“Today’s launch is a testament to the tireless dedication of the ULA team, demonstrating why ULA continues to serve as our nation’s most dependable and successful launch provider,” said Laura Maginnis, ULA’s vice president of government satellite launches. “After recovering from Hurricane Irma that came through the area last month, and the last week’s weather challenges, the team found the right opportunity today to deliver this critical national asset to orbit.”
One day prior to the ULA launch, a Russian Soyuz rocket launched a Progress cargo capsule toward the International Space Station. The Soyuz lifted off at 4:46 a.m. EDT, 2:46 p.m. local time, Oct. 14 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, with docking of the Progress and its ISS cargo expected on Oct. 16.
NASA contractor SpaceX delivered cargo to the orbiting space lab in August.