Gallery: The NROL-71 mission finally starts



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After several scrubbed attempts, United Launch Alliance was finally able to launch its Delta IV rocket with the secret charge of NROL-71.

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Delta IV Heavy launches from the Vandenberg 6 Air Force Base Space Launch Complex with NROL-71 charge for the National Surveillance Office. Photo Credit: Ashly Cullumber

Delta IV Heavy launches from the Vandenberg Air Force Base 6 Space Vasa Complex with a charge of NROL-71 for the National Reconnaissance Office. Photo Credit: Ashly Cullumber

LOMPOC, California – After several scrubbed efforts, United Launch Alliance was finally able to launch its Delta IV rocket with the secret charge of NROL-71.

Lifting at 11:10 PST (19:10 GMT) January 19, 2019, from the Vandenberg Air Force Base 6 Space Launch Complex in California, the triple-core Delta IV Heavy starts the ascent and southbound path to orbit. Because this is a secret mission in the name of the National Reconnaissance Office, the right orbital parameters for the load are not released to the public.

This is the 132nd mission carried out by ULA since the company's establishment in December 2006 and the 11th flight for the Delta IV Heavy as high as 236 feet (72 meters) since its inaugural flight in December 2004.

"Congratulations to our team and mission partners for successfully delivering this important asset to support the national security mission," said Gary Wentz, vice president of ULA Government and Commercial Programs, in the ULA press release. "Thank you to the entire team for their perseverance, continuous dedication, and focus on 100 percent mission success."

The next ULA mission is expected to launch the WGS-10 mission for the US Air Force on the March 2019 Delta IV Medium rocket from Cape Canaveral.

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Tagged: Delta IV NROL Heavy National Reconnaissance Office 71 Launch United Range 6 Space Launch Complex Vandenberg Air Force Base

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