ULA’s Delta IV Launches NRO Satellite

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket carrying the NROL-47 mission lifts off from Vandenberg Air Force Base. (Credit: ULA)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., Jan. 12, 2018 (ULA PR) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-6 on Jan. 12 at 2:11 p.m. PST. Designated NROL-47, the mission is in support of national defense.

“As the nation’s most trustworthy launch provider, today’s launch exemplifies ULA’s ongoing commitment to 100 percent mission success,” said Will Crawford, ULA’s NRO program manager. “My sincere thanks to the entire ULA team and our mission partners at the NRO and U.S. Air Force who made this, our 27th NRO launch, possible.”

This mission was launched aboard a Delta IV Medium+ (5, 2) configuration Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) powered by one common booster core and two solid rocket motors built by Orbital ATK. The common booster core was powered by an RS-68A liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine. A single RL10B-2 liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen engine powered the second stage. The booster and upper stage engines are both built by Aerojet Rocketdyne. ULA constructed the Delta IV Medium+ (5,2) launch vehicle in Decatur, Ala.

This is ULA’s first launch in 2018 and the 124th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006. It was also the 36th flight of the Delta IV rocket since its inaugural launch in 2002.

The EELV program was established by the U.S. Air Force to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense and other government payloads. The commercially developed EELV program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the legacy launch systems.

ULA’s next launch is the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO Flight 4 mission for the U.S. Air Force on an Atlas V rocket. The launch is scheduled for Jan. 18 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 120 satellites to orbit that aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, provide critical capabilities for troops in the field and enable personal device-based GPS navigation.

For more information on ULA, visit the ULA website at www.ulalaunch.com, or call the ULA Launch Hotline at 1-877-ULA-4321 (852-4321). Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/ulalaunch, twitter.com/ulalaunch and instagram.com/ulalaunch.

  • Terry Stetler

    See the last Delta IV Medium November 1, 2018: WGS-10.

    Just six Delta IV Heavies before retirement in 2023: NROL-91.


  • Tashya Maria

    Let’s stop by to see Escape Room >>> SONYPICTURES01.BLOGSPOT.COM

  • Kirk

    We all know how Delta 4 boosters look like they are trying their best to set themselves on fire when excess hydrogen ignites during engine startup. This one was particularly toasty and is worth a look. Here is a link to T-15s from ULA’s webcast: https://youtu.be/h9O-JH4DtiQ#t=100m40s

  • duheagle

    A sub-scale preview of coming attractions with SLS, which is also hydrolox powered and has the same orange insulation. Weirdly appropriate that SLS, built in Louisiana, will look like an exercise in Cajun cooking on every launch – who doesn’t love a big mess of blackened spaceship?

  • Kirk

    But SLS will be using SSMEs, and Shuttle never flared up like that at launch. Both the Delta IV and Shuttle used ROFIs. I wonder what’s different between the start of an RS-25 and an RS-68 to make such a big difference.

  • windbourne

    surprised they do not have fans by the overflow to push the excess H2 gas away from the vehicle.
    I guess that it is just simpler to design the vehicle to withstand it.