Atlas 5 deploys classified NRO payload
June 15 2007 ~ 11:12am


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A 19-story United Launch Alliance/Lockheed-Martin Atlas 5 rocket deploys a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office on June 15. This tenth flight of the Atlas 5, reportedly carrying two Naval Ocean Surveilance Satellites, flew with its sole 860,000 lb-thrust RD-180 engine and no Solid Rocket Boosters. The Centaur upper stage shut down four seconds prematurely due to a fuel valve problem, leaving the satellites short of their desired orbit. It was the first blemish of any kind for the Atlas program since 1993, 81 flights ago.

Personal launch video!

<--- STP-1 Orbital Express                                    WGS-1 starry night --->
An Osprey watches over the Atlas 5 NRO L-30 launch operation, with the VAB as a backdrop: