|Delta 4 launches NRO L-25 from Vandenberg
4/3/12 ~ 4:12pm
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A Delta 4 rocket, flying for the first time with two strap-on solids and a large five-meter payload fairing, launches the L-25 classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office. Liftoff from infamous Space Launch Complex 6 (SLC-6) came April 3 at 4:12:57pm after several days of scrubs. Originally built to serve as the west coast launch site for the canceled Manned Orbiting Laboratory in the 1960s, in which a Titan rocket would launch a Gemini-like capsule to a small military space outpost, SLC-6 was later turned into what was to be the Space Shuttle's West Coast launch site. That program was ended following the 1986 Challenger disaster, but SLC-6 did see a full size space shuttle stack - with test-orbiter Enterprise attached - take up residence on the mountain-ringed pad for a short time for fit checks. The pad then saw four small Athena rockets launch small satellites in the 1990s (three of which failed during launch or on orbit) and nothing again until Delta 4 debuted in 2006...from what had by that point been deemed a cursed pad. To date, all four Delta 4 launches have been flawless.
Delta 4 on Space Launch Complex 6 SLC-6 after scrub Amtrak Coast Starlight
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