WASHINGTON – The U.S. Air Force on Wednesday said it launched an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida, carrying a top secret satellite into space.
The rocket lifted off in the morning, carrying a NROL-38 payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). Details of the satellite, its mission and whether it reached orbit was not released due to security reasons. But reports indicated it was likely a new communications satellite. ‘
However, the Air Force later did say the launch was part of the Defense Department’s ongoing efforts to maintain assured, affordable access to space through 2030. The program replaced the existing fleet of launch systems with two families of launch vehicles — the Boeing Delta IV and Lockheed Martin Atlas V — built and operated by Pentagon’s prime contractor, United Launch Alliance (ULA).
The ULA’s next launch and the NRO’s next mission, the Delta IV NROL-15, is scheduled for June 28. (Xinhua)
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